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close this book Daughters of Sysiphus
close this folder Density
View the document Household size
View the document Number of people per room
View the document The yard
View the document The experience behind the figures
View the document Recommendation


This chapter looks at population density among low-income female-headed families. Its true focus, however, is on the realities of sharing. Low-income families share. They have to share in order to survive. They share space, they share infrastructure and they share the dally experiences of their lives and their children's lives whether they want to or not, because privacy is almost as scarce a commodity as cash.

Density is a difficult concept because it has different meanings when it is measured using different variables. One way of measuring density is by looking at the number of people per room but this means very different things in different circumstances. In cold climates for instance room size is important because people have to spend so much of their time indoors. In countries with hotter climates such as Jamaica, yard space may be more important because people spend more time outside and often need a yard to store goods, keep animals, expand their house or grow a few things.

In the following sections density is explored in a number of different ways.