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This paper investigates household dissolution and changes in asset wealth (socio-economic position) in a rural South African community containing settled refugees. Survival analysis applied to a longitudinal dataset indicated that the covariates increasing the risk of forced household dissolution were a reduction in socio-economic position (asset wealth), adult deaths and the permanent outmigration of more than 40% of the household. Conversely, the risk of dissolution was reduced by bigger households, state grants and older household heads. Significant spatial clusters of former refugee villages also showed a higher risk of dissolution after 20 years of permanent residence. A discussion of the dynamics of dissolution showed how an outflow/inflow of household assets (socio-economic position) was precipitated by each of the selected covariates. The paper shows how an understanding of the dynamics of forced household dissolution, combined with the use of geo-spatial mapping, can inform inter-disciplinary policy in a rural community.

Original publication





Development Southern Africa

Publication Date





775 - 795


Professor, School of Accountancy, University of the Witwatersrand , Private Bag 3, Wits 2050 , South Africa.