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Effects of Social Change on the Nigerian Family

This paper will examine the effects of modernization and social change on the Nigerian family. Some factors of social change, such as urban migration, have had a powerful impact on traditional family patterns. Such factors have often had a negative effect on the children within the family. At the same time, however, there is evidence that the values of the traditional family are still very strong in Nigeria. These values are important because they provide a support system for family members in dealing with poverty and other negative aspects of social change. In addition, these traditional values are important because they provide a system which helps insure the welfare of the children within the family.

There are actually many different ethnic groups to be found in Nigeria, and each group has its own unique language. In this regard, "close to 250 separate languages are reported to exist within the borders of Nigeria" (Schultz, 1988, p. 33). The Yoruba, the Hausa and the Ibo are just some of the larger social groups to be found in the nation. In addition to having a unique language, each of these groups has its own unique approach to matters of tradition. Despite this fact, however, a great deal of similarity also exists between these different groups. This is especially true regarding the traditional functions of the family. For example, the traditional marriage pattern of polygamy is widely practiced throughout the nation of Nigeria. In this tradition, the Nigerian man takes more than one wife. Ekong (1984) notes that, despite the family law which was imposed by the British during their colonial rule, certain Nigerian ethnic groups such as the Tiv and the Fulani "have never faltered in their practice of polygamy" (p. 57). In addition to practicing polygamy, the majority of the people in Nigeria follow the tradition of living in extended families. In contrast to the nuclear family consisting of one's biological pare...

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Effects of Social Change on the Nigerian Family. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:13, February 22, 2017, from