IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Child-headed households in South Africa: What we know and what we don't


  • Akim J Mturi


Household structures in many countries in Africa have been drastically changed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Traditionally, orphans were absorbed by members of the extended family but today this safety net no longer works so well and many children are left to fend for themselves. The South African Government recognises the problem, but views differ on the effectiveness of the programmes for assisting these children. This article looks at what is known and what needs further research. It is known that child-headed households do exist in South Africa and that children living in these households are vulnerable. What is not known is the prevalence of these households and how to deal with the children's psycho-social problems. The article argues that the definition of child-headed households needs to be refined if we are to understand the extent of the problem. This will facilitate assessment of the programmes established for these children.

Suggested Citation

  • Akim J Mturi, 2012. "Child-headed households in South Africa: What we know and what we don't," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 506-516, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:3:p:506-516
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.706043

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:3:p:506-516. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.