Departmental Bulletin Paper Household Structure and Sources of Income in a Rice-Growing Village in Northeast Thailand
Rural Northeast Thailand in Transition: Recent Changes and Their Implications for the Long-Term Transformation of the Region

Shirai, Yuko  ,  Rambo, A. Terry

6 ( 2 )  , pp.275 - 292 , 2017-08 , Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
As part of the agrarian transformation in Northeast Thailand, major changes have been occurring in the size, structure, and sources of income of rural households. This study, which is based on a survey of 303 households in a rice-growing village in Khon Kaen Province in Northeast Thailand, presents a detailed picture of contemporary rural households. Households have decreased in size while becoming more structurally diverse. Nuclear households, which were the most common structural type in the past, are increasingly being replaced by extended, skipped generation, and truncated households. Multiple factors, including the increased opportunity for earning income from local non-farm employment, provision of services within the village, prolongation of people’s life spans, increased education levels, delayed age of marriage, and an increase in the number of people who never marry, have contributed to these changes. At the same time as they are becoming structurally more diverse, rural households have become increasingly dependent on non-agricultural sources of income. Even truncated households, which are the most reliant on agricultural income of any structural type, derive only one-third of their total income from farming. Non-agricultural income sources, which include local non-farm employment, self-employment, remittances, and government support and pensions, are of growing importance. Many households are in debt, with two-thirds of skipped generation households having debts exceeding 100% of their annual net income. Government rural development and poverty reduction policies and programs intended to improve the social and economic situation of people in the Northeast need to take the changed nature of their households into account if they are to achieve their desired results.

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