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The association between mother's socioeconomic status and non-orphan kinship care arrangements in South Africa


  • De Wet, Nicole


Non-orphan kinship care is where children are placed in the primary care of extended relatives, even though one or both parents are still alive. This practice is fairly common across sub- Saharan Africa. However, when elderly grandparents are the primary caregivers, the resulting financial and emotional strain compromises child health and development. Yet the practice persists and while research has examined the socioeconomic factors associated with and resulting from orphan kinship care, no study has examined if living mother's low socioeconomic status is a determinant of non-orphan kinship care in South Africa. The study uses data from the nationally representative National Income Dynamics Survey in 2014/15. A sample of 5895 females of reproductive age (15–44 years old) with at least one child under the age of 15 years old are included. Cross-tabulations and regression models are used. Results show that respondents have low socioeconomic status. While the majority of mothers are primary caregivers, 10.9% of children are cared for by grandparents and a further 6.9% are cared for by other relatives. Females who are younger and those with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have children cared for by grandparents or other relatives. In conclusion, efforts to increase the socioeconomic status of females in the country should be encouraged by knowing that in doing so will allow for more parents to raise their biological children.

Suggested Citation

  • De Wet, Nicole, 2019. "The association between mother's socioeconomic status and non-orphan kinship care arrangements in South Africa," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 79-86.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:103:y:2019:i:c:p:79-86
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.05.015

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    References listed on IDEAS

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