Orphanhood, household composition, and child outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa

Thomas W. Pullum, University of Texas at Austin
K FERN. Greenwell, World Health Organization (WHO)

Much of Sub-Saharan Africa has seen substantial increases in the proportion of children who have lost parents because of HIV/AIDS. Many of these children are taken in by grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other relatives. The increase in orphanhood has occurred within a context in which many children normally live with foster parents and cousins. Using DHS and MICS surveys, this research examines outcomes such as school attendance in relation to whether the child is an orphan or lives separately from living parents, and compares outcomes for children with different biological relationships to the household head. It is found that children who have living parents but do not live with them tend to have the same negative outcomes as children whose parents have died, and that foster children are more likely to have negative outcomes than children in the same household who are the biological children of the household head.

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Presented in Session 217: Demographic processes and outcomes for children in sub-Saharan Africa