The year 2004 marks the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family. The International Year of the Family (1994) helped highlight the role of the family as the basic social unit in every society and supported the idea that the family can play a key role in developing, protecting, socializing and educating individual members of families; as well as protecting the intergenerational transmission of culture and values. (UN Web page on the Tenth Anniversary of the Family Year:
However, as a unit of analysis, the concept of the "household" is more helpful - particularly in terms of agricultural and rural development. In part, it is linked to other conceptual units of analysis such as the agricultural "holding". FAO defines the concept of "household" as "the arrangements people make for providing themselves with food or other essentials of living". It may be one-person or multi-person, they may be related or unrelated or a combination of both (i.e. extended family members, friends, workers living within the household). Concepts of "family" do not normally include "hired labour" or friends in the way that concepts of "household" do. For more, see:
FAO 1999. Agricultural Censuses and Gender Considerations: Concepts and Methodology.