The Conditions Favoring Matrilocal Versus Patrilocal Residence



This paper describes the results of a series of cross-cultural tests of several different explanations of matrilocal versus patrilocal residence. The first explanation tested was the traditional assumption that division of labor determines residence. The results did not support that assumption. The results of other tests suggest rather that patrilocal residence is favored by internal warfare, whether or not such warfare interferes with a normally patridominant division of labor; and matrilocal residence appears to be favored by purely external warfare if such warfare compels the women to do at least as much subsistence work as the men.