1.1     About the study

  • The first study of its kind to be conducted in Kenya.
  • The study was implemented between March and June 2022 by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD)
  • Other stakeholders involved through the study Technical Working Committee which provided technical support to the study.
  • Policy direction was provided by the NCPD management.
  • Is a Cross-sectional study that utilized both Qualitative and quantitative methods (Household Interviews, FGDs, KIIs and IDIs)
  • 870 households were scientifically sampled from 30 Enumeration areas/Clusters across the County
  • Involved individuals living in conventional households within Kwale County aged 15 years and above
  • A total of 11 FGDs, 12 Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) and 4 In-Depth-Interviews (IDIs) were purposefully sampled and conducted across all the sub counties both rural and urban

1.2     Study timelines

Feb-March 2022

•          Study conceptualization

•          Establishment of the TWC


March-May 2022

·         Development of study tools

·         Recruitment of Research Assistants

·         Training of Research Assistants and pre-test of tools


June –Dec 2022

•          Data collection

•          Data processing tools

•          Data analysis

•          Report writing

•          Technical editing


1.3     What were the objectives of the study?

  • Main aim: To provide an understanding of the situation of the family in Kenya with focus on Murangá County.
  • Specific objectives:
  1. To describe the family types and forms,
  2. To discuss changes, the family has experienced and the drivers and,
  • To discuss the status of the family’s well-being and stability in Kwale


1.4     Why was the study undertaken?

  • Responds to global call made during the 1994 ICPD where governments were tasked to maintain document changes and undertake studies on family composition and structure, especially on the prevalence of one-person households and single parent and multi-generational families.
  • Forms part of Implementation of Kenya Vision 2030 as a priority area of research under Vision 2030’s Medium Term Three (MTPIII)
  • Responds to proposals in the draft Research Agenda on population and development, and draft Family promotion and proteItction policy
  • Responds to recommendations made during Research dialogues on the place of the elderly in the family in Kwale County and the County Consultative forums on revision of the population policy that was undertaken in all the 47 Counties.
  • Provides an understanding of the family situation, its challenges and needs, as an important first step towards achieving SDGs
  • Forms a basis under which future studies will make reference
  • It will generate indicators for development of Kenya Family Well-being Index

1.5     What are some of the highlights of study findings?

Provides highlights of the key results from the study. Detailed findings are documented in the main report:

  • Family types:44 percent of families in Kwale are nuclear families. Extended families form 36 percent and single families form 20 percent of families
  • Other notable family types/forms and compositions include: Single parent, child headed, step family, blended family, grant parent headed’, cohabiting and widowed families among others
  • Changes in family structure and composition: Decrease in family size and family composition, an increase in single parent families, increase in cohabitation/come we stay, decline in extended families and a rise in skip generations.
  • Changes in family roles and functions: More women have taken up education and both men and women are increasingly engaged in economic activities.
  • Driver of changes happening in the family: Increased women education and participation in economic activities; Failure by men to take up family responsibility or meet family needs. Domestic violence which leads to separation and death and Infertility which leads to conflict in the family and consequent marriage break ups among many others.
  • Family well-being attributes (What makes a family to be considered as being well). It is: well educated, co-exists peacefully, has religious affiliation, is economically stable, has good health, strong relations and ties among members, good housing, good support/social capital systems, gets involved in community activities, has god family values, has good community relations among many others.
  • Family relations:
  • 13 percent of families in Kwale County do not consult its members when making decisions.
  • Use of phone call is the main channel of communication among 79 percent of families
  • 55 percent of families in Kwale County mainly experience conflicts between spouses
  • 27 percent of families have an elderly family member living with them while 40 percent have an elderly member living elsewhere
  • Two percent of families in Kwale are never visited by friends and relatives.
  • 2 percent of families with an elderly family member living elsewhere, never visit them at all.
  • 6 percent of families never involve their elderly family members in family decision making.
  • Community family relations
  • 74 percent of families are are visited by friends and relatives at least once in month
  • 4 percent of families are not comfortable interacting with others mainly because of differences in in standards of living and differences resulting from land disputes.
  • Local administration (74%) followed by Nyumba kumi (68%) are recognized to be the main dispute resolution mechanisms in the community
  • Land disputes followed by discrimination are the main family challenges as reported by 24 and 14 percent of families in Kwale County
  • Parenthood
  • 1 in 10 parents leave their children un attended to in their absence.
  • Over half of parents and 34 percent of parents prefer rebuking their children verbally and beating when disciplining them
  • 9 in 10 parents acknowledge that parents are the best suited persons to instill values and morals in their children.
  • 28 percent of parents, report that having children has interfered with their private time.
  • Forty-three percent of parents report that they have no desire of having more children.
  • Family health status
  • 56 percent of families in Kwale County, find it difficult/fairly difficult to access the nearest health facility.
  • 88 percent of families in Kwale County have no access to a health insurance cover.
  • Family economic and financial status
  • Business is the leading source of family income among 30 percent of families in Kwale County followed by Agriculture among 28 percent
  • A third (31.2%) of families in Kwale County have a combined family income of less than Ksh.5000
  • Majority (34%) of families in Kwale County would require above Ksh. 50,000 per month for them to be comfortable.
  • More than half (63.2%) of families are not saving at all.
  • Work family balance
  • 30 percent of residents in Kwale are in some form of employment (formal, informal or self-employed)
  • 32 percent of those in any form of employment are not satisfied with their jobs.
  • Only 14 percent of those in employment often take time off or go for leave
  • Thirty percent of those in employment have had to change jobs due to marriage.

1.6     Recommendations


Need for further research to understand:

  • Reasons behind increase in single parent families, cohabiting and grandparent headed families and their implications to child development.
  • The rise in nuclear families and its implications to societal ties
  • Parental challenges resulting from children
  • Parenting in the modern world of increasing marriage dissolutions.
  • Prevalence and socio-economic impact of NCDs to families


  • Family specific interventions targeting the vulnerable families (cohabiting, child headed, single parent and grandparent headed).
  • Mainstreaming family values in the education system right from basic level
  • Put in place mechanisms to address social isolation of the elderly.
  • Fully implement Universal healthcare to increase healthcare access and avert the socio-economic implications arising from the cost of healthcare especially for chronic illness
  • Full enforcement of legislations related to drug and substance abuse
  • Sensitize communities on importance of involvement in community activities and social support
  • Roll out rapid response initiatives meant to alleviate poverty among families
  • Community dialogues with parents on proper parenting procedures
  • Promote and support existing community level dispute resolution mechanisms to address disputes arising from families
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