Journal of Population Research

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 87–105 | Cite as

Living with parents and educational outcomes in developing countries: empirical evidence from PISA Thailand

  • Piriya Pholphirul
  • Siwat Teimtad


Family is a fundamental determinant of children’s welfare outcomes, not only in terms of good or bad behaviour, but also in terms of child development, comprising emotional, social, and cognitive skills. Family structure is even more important in a developing country in which educational achievement tends to lag. Using a national sampling from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted in 2009 and 2012 in Thailand as a case study for a developing country, this paper quantifies impacts the effects of family structure on cognitive skills and learning performance among Thai students. The findings reveal that family structure, especially for those living with both father and mother, can positively affect the academic achievement of Thai students compared to those who do not live with both parents. Thus, strengthening family structures should be another necessary policy to could promote positive educational outcomes in this developing country.


Family structure Living with parents Educational outcomes Thailand 


  1. Amato, P. R. (2005). The impact of family formation change on the cognitive, social, and emotional well-being of the next generation. The Future of Children, 15(2), 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amato, P. R., Patterson, S., & Beattie, B. (2015). Single-parent households and children’s education achievement: A state level analysis. Social Science Research, 25(September), 191–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chilton, R., & Markle, G. (1972). Family disruption, delinquent conduct and the effect of subclassification. American Sociological Review, 37(1), 93–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Loenzien, M. (2016). Lone motherhood and its educational outcomes for children in Vietnam. Marriage & Family Review, 52(1–2), 162–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fasih, T. (2008). Linking education policy to labor market outcomes. The World Bank: Washington D.C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ghazarian, S. R., & Buehler, C. (2010). Interparental conflict and academic achievement: An examination of mediating and moderating factors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(1), 23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ginther, D., & Pollak, R. (2004). Family structure and children’s educational outcomes: Blended families, stylized facts, and descriptive regressions. Demography, 41(4), 671–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Greenwood, J., Guner, N., Kocharkov, G., & Santos, C. (2014). Marry your like: Assortative mating and income inequality. NBER Working Paper No. 19829, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  9. Ham, B. (2004). The effects of divorce and remarriage on the academic achievement of high school seniors. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 42(1–2), 159–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hampden-Thompson, G. (2013). Family policy, family structure, and children’s educational achievement. Social Science Research, 42(3), 804–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Heckman, J. J. (2008). Role of income and family influence on child outcomes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1136, 307–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lutz, W., & Samir, K. C. (2011). Global human capital: Integrating education and population. Science, 333(6042), 587–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Miller, P. (1997). Family structure, personality, drinking, smoking and illicit drug use: A study of UK teenagers. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 45(1–2), 121–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Moore, M. R., & Chase-Lansdale, P. L. (2001). Sexual intercourse and pregnancy among African American girls in high-poverty neighborhoods: The role of family and perceived community environment. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63(4), 1146–1157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Myers, D., Milne, A., Baker, K., & Ginsburg, A. (1987). Student discipline and high school performance. Sociology of Education, 60(1), 18–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2009). PISA data analysis manual: SPSS (2nd ed.). Retrieved May 1, 2014 from
  17. Painter, G., & Levine, D. (2000). Family structure and youths’ outcomes: Which correlations are causal? The Journal of Human Resources, 35(3), 524–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Park, H. (2008). Effects of single parenthood on educational aspiration and student disengagement in Korea. Demographic Research, 18, 377–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pholphirul, P. (2016). Pre-primary education and long-term education performance: Evidence from programme for international student assessment (PISA) Thailand. Journal of Early Childhood Research. Scholar
  20. Pong, S. (1998). The school compositional effect of single parenthood on 10th-grade achievement. Sociology of Education, 71(1), 23–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pong, S., Dronkers, J., & Hampden-Thompson, G. (2003). Family policies and children’s school achievement in single-versus two-parent families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65(3), 681–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ram, B., & Hou, F. (2003). Changes in family structure and child outcomes: Roles of economic and familial resources. The Policy Studies Journal, 31(3), 309–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rodgers, B., & Pryor, J. (1998). Divorce and separation: The outcomes for children. New York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  24. Sandefur, G. D., McLanahan, S., & Wojtkiewicz, R. A. (1992). The effects of parental marital status during adolescence on high school graduation. Social Forces, 71(1), 103–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Torche, F. (2010). Economic Crisis and Inequality of Educational Opportunity in Latin America. Sociology of Education, 83(2), 85–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. United Nations Development Program. (2014). Advancing human development through the ASEAN community, Thailand Development Report 2014. Bangkok: United National Development Program.Google Scholar
  27. Van de Werfhorst, H. G., & Mijs, J. J. (2010). Achievement inequality and the institutional structure of educational systems: A comparative perspective. Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 407–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Woessmann, L. (2015). An international look at the single-parent: Family structure matters more for U.S. students. Education Next, 15(2), 42–49.Google Scholar
  29. World Bank. (2012). Leading with ideas: Skills for growth and equity in Thailand. Bangkok: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  30. World Bank. (2015). Thailand–wanted: A quality education for all. Bangkok: The World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Development Economics and Center for Development Economics StudiesNational Institute of Development Administration (NIDA)BangkokThailand
  2. 2.Krungthai BankNonthaburiThailand

Personalised recommendations