Longitudinal analysis of household types and livelihood trajectories in Oaxaca, Mexico uri icon


  • In Mexico, a political shift to fit into neoliberal directives since the 80s has brought several consequences to rural households and their trajectories. This study focused on the relation between drivers of change and household trajectory. The study was carried out in Santa Catarina Tayata, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. 44 household heads were interviewed to recall their production system and economic activities at significant moments. The results were summarized as variables describing the socio-economic and agronomic situation of households over three decades: 1988-1997, 1998-2007, and 2008-2017. Household types were identified for each decade. Three household types were distinguishable in the first two decades, and five in the last decade. Drivers of change such as international markets, land tenure, government support, and migration were connected to household trajectories. Results showed that household type diversity increased, while half of the households changed types at one point according to different strategies. Changes in land tenure in the study area in the early 2000s were attributable to the PROCEDE national program, which acted to lift restrictions on land tenure, facilitating the buying and selling of land. The implementation of PROCEDE resulted in fewer households relying on borrowed or rented land while allowing others to expand their land and form a new household type. A migration process enabled some households to invest in land or animal production as a "step up" strategy. The majority of households that received agriculture-related subsidies tended to engage solely in agricultural activities. Half of the households that did not benefit from subsidies engaged in off-farm to diversify their income, suggesting that the type of governmental support can have an impact on farming activities. Household types that had more animal production or larger areas did not tend to engage in off-farm activities because of high demands for labor in their production systems. This type of study can be used to monitor policy impact and households' strategic responses, to arrive at better articulation of policy objectives and policy impact while considering household type diversity.

publication date

  • 2021
  • 2020