| Chitwan Valley Family Study | Chitwan Healthy Aging Project | Developmental Idealism and Family and Population Dynamics

Chitwan Valley Family Study

The Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS) is a comprehensive mixed method panel study of individuals, families, and communities in the Chitwan Valley of Nepal. The study investigates the influence of social contexts on population processes and the relationships between the environment and population processes. The data include full life histories for more than 10,000 individuals, tracking and interviews with all migrants, continuous measurement of community change, 16 years of demographic event registry, and linked human and natural systems.

The CVFS is supported by multiple grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

 

Grants

Title: Reciprocal Relations between Population and Environment

Funder: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Investigators: William Axinn, Dirgha Ghimire, Jianguo Liu, Dangol Dharma, Douglas Massey

Period: 2009-2012

This project continues a unique micro-level study of the reciprocal relationships between population and the environment. Environmental measures feature direct observation measurement (with tape measures) of land use in 151 neighborhoods and detailed counts (by hand) of vegetation abundance and diversity from 126 plots surrounding those neighborhoods. Both land use and vegetation data have been collected three times over a ten year period (1996, 2000, and 2006). The population measures feature monthly records of births, deaths, marriages, in-migration, and out-migration for every individual living in those neighborhoods from 1996 through 2006. Additional data from the same sample include neighborhood histories of contextual change, individual life histories, and household-level measures of agricultural practices and consumption of natural resources (collected in 1996, 2001, and 2006). Analyses of these data have revealed a series of crucial insights into the overall reciprocal relationships between population and the environment. These insights have shaped a new theoretical framework – a distinctly sociological approach to population and environment research that emphasizes the role of local community context in shaping key population parameters, vegetation, and land use/cover, as well as the role of attitudes and beliefs and consumption behaviors in shaping environmental consequences. The key evolution in our previous work has been a shift from focusing on the overall relationship between population and the environment to focusing on the mechanisms driving that relationship. This project analyzes newly available longitudinal measures of change in environment, consumption, and population to answer specific questions about the micro-level dynamic relationships between population and environment over time, focusing on the role of attitudes and beliefs and the role of consumption behaviors as important intervening mechanisms.

Title: Intergenerational Influences on Family Formation in a Changing Social Context

Funder: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Investigators: William Axinn, Dirgha Ghimire, Jennifer Barber, Arland Thornton

Period: 2007-2012

This project studies the influence of mothers and fathers on the family formation experiences of young adults. The project will focus on five main aspects of young adult family formation: entrance into first marriage; rates of contraceptive use, sterilization, and rates of child birth, including both first births and progression to higher parity. Our purpose is to investigate the ways in which central aspects of the parental family - socioeconomic achievements and aspirations; family attitudes and behavior; religious beliefs and behavior; and the organization of social activities in the parental home - influence family formation. In addition to investigating the overall influence of the parental family, we examine individual effects of fathers and mothers, thereby giving us more detailed insight into specific intergenerational dynamics. Secondly, this project creates and investigates an intergenerational model of the influence of community context on family and demographic behavior. We examine this model by investigating the overall influence of context on young adult behavior, the direct effects on young adults after parental factors are added, and the indirect effects through the behavior and attitudes of the parents. As part of this contextual-intergenerational model we will also examine the ways in which the influence of parents depends on the context in which families live. Our investigation of this contextual-intergenerational model of family formation will take advantage of a longitudinal data resource in Nepal that is especially powerful for the purposes of this study. The data set contains a particularly rich body of contextual measures, detailed personal interviews with both mothers and fathers, and a monthly record of children's family formation behaviors spanning nine years. With this wealth of information from and about mothers, fathers, and children, we have the measures necessary to significantly advance the scientific understanding of intergenerational and contextual influences on family formation. These intergenerational influences are particularly significant because they shape virtually every domain of social life, and ultimately influence both family and child health and wellbeing. The results provide empirical answers to key unanswered theoretical questions and inform both regional and US foreign policies on population growth. More effective policies to curb population growth in South Asia are considered a high priority for both US and regional poverty alleviation programs and international security.

Title: Reciprocal Relations between Population and Environment

Funder: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Investigators: William Axinn, Dirgha Ghimire, Ann Biddlecom, Jennifer Barber, Lisa Pearce, Stephen Matthews, Dharma Dangol, Sundar Shrestha

Period: 2001-2007

This project continues a unique micro-level study of the reciprocal relationships between population processes (family formation and migration) and the environment (land use, flora diversity, agricultural practices, and consumption of natural resources) in the foothills of Nepalese Himalayas. This study has already collected detailed micro-level data on both population processes and the environment. The environmental data feature direct observation measurement (with tape measures) of land use in 151 neighborhoods and detailed counts (by hand) of flora species from more than 265 plots surrounding those neighborhoods. Both land use data and flora data were collected twice, four years apart (winter 1996 and winter 2000), from exactly the same locations. The population measures feature monthly records of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, in-migration, out-migration, and contraceptive use for every individual living in those 151 neighborhoods, including migrants, during the intervening four year period. These unique micro-level measures provide the means to analyze the reciprocal links between population processes and the environment. Additional data collected by related projects in the same neighborhoods, including neighborhood histories of contextual change over time, individual life histories, and household-level measures of agricultural practices and the consumption of natural resources, combine to provide an unprecedented opportunity to investigate population-environment relationships. This project analyzes these existing data to address four specific questions regarding the reciprocal relationships between population processes and the environment: 1) To what extent do marriage timing, household fission, childbearing, and migration influence land use and flora diversity? 2) To what extent do land use and flora diversity influence marriage, household fission, childbearing, and migration? 3) To what extent do agricultural practices and consumption patterns link population processes to environmental outcomes?, and 4) To what extent are the observed relationships between population processes and the environment produced by exogenous changes in the social, economic and institutional context? Secondly, this project extends these unique population and environment measures forward in time. Lastly, this project systematically applies ethnographic methods to gather information to redesign our survey measures of the factors linking population and the environment in an effort to improve our models of these processes.