Extended Families: Here and There

Family is very important throughout Africa. Most people live in households that include not only the nuclear family (mother, father, and children) but also members of their extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on).  Family members act as both an economic and emotional network and provide individuals with a sense of who they are and where they belong.

Immigration to the United States changes the African family. African families in the United States are very restricted compared to the extended model they would follow at home. If African immigrants come to the United States with family members, it is usually with a spouse or children. In rare cases, grandparents may rejoin the group. Other newly arrived family members may stay in the household temporarily before they move on to form their own households.