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Orphanhood and the living arrangements of children in sub-saharan Africa

  • Beegle, Kathleen
  • Filmer, Deon
  • Stokes, Andrew
  • Tiererova, Lucia

Increasing adult mortality due to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa raises considerable concerns about the welfare of surviving children. Studies have found substantial variability across countries in the negative impacts of orphanhood on child health and education. One hypothesis for this variability is the resilience of the extended family network in some countries to care for orphans-networks under increasing pressure by the sheer number of orphans in many settings. Using household survey data from 21 countries in Africa, this study examines trends in orphanhood and living arrangements, and the links between the two. The findings confirm that orphanhood is increasing, although not all countries are experiencing rapid rises. In many countries, there has been a shift toward grandparents taking on increased childcare responsibility-especially where orphan rates are growing rapidly. This suggests some merit to the claim that the extended network is narrowing, focusing on grandparents who are older and may be less able to financially support orphans than working-age adults. However there are also changes in childcare patterns in countries with stable orphan rates or low HIV prevalence. This suggests future work on living arrangements should not exclude low HIV/AIDS prevalence countries, and explanations for changes should include a broader set of factors.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4889.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4889
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  1. Nyambedha, Erick Otieno & Wandibba, Simiyu & Aagaard-Hansen, Jens, 2003. "Changing patterns of orphan care due to the HIV epidemic in western Kenya," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 301-311, July.
  2. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Joseph Ableidinger, 2004. "Orphans in Africa: Parental Death, Poverty and School Enrollment," Working Papers 183, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  3. Akresh, Richard, 2004. "Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 1379, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Davis, Benjamin & Covarrubias, Katia & Stamoulis, Kostas G. & Winters, Paul C. & Carletto, Calogero & Quinones, Esteban & Zezza, Alberto & Di Giuseppe, Stefania, 2007. "Rural Income Generating Activities: A Cross Country Comparison," 106th Seminar, October 25-27, 2007, Montpellier, France 7913, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Atwine, Benjamin & Cantor-Graae, Elizabeth & Bajunirwe, Francis, 2005. "Psychological distress among AIDS orphans in rural Uganda," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 555-564, August.
  6. Beegle, Kathleen & Krutikova, Sofya, 2007. "Adult mortality and children's transition into marriage," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4139, The World Bank.
  7. Serra, Renata, 2009. "Child fostering in Africa: When labor and schooling motives may coexist," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 157-170, January.
  8. Ainsworth, Martha & Semali, Innocent, 2000. "The impact of adult deaths on children's health in Northwestern Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2266, The World Bank.
  9. Deon Filmer & Kinnon Scott, 2012. "Assessing Asset Indices," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 359-392, February.
  10. Frederick J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Cinderella Goes to School: The Effects of Child Fostering on School Enrollment in South Africa," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
  11. Kathleen Ford & Victoria Hosegood, 2005. "Aids mortality and the mobility of children in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 757-768, November.
  12. Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel & Barrientos, Armando & Hulme, David & Hickey, Sam, 2010. "Social protection in sub-Saharan Africa: Will the green shoots blossom?," MPRA Paper 22422, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Bicego, George & Rutstein, Shea & Johnson, Kiersten, 2003. "Dimensions of the emerging orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1235-1247, March.
  14. Ainsworth, Martha & Filmer, Deon, 2006. "Inequalities in children's schooling: AIDS, orphanhood, poverty, and gender," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1099-1128, June.
  15. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Dercon, Stefan, 2007. "The long-run impact of orphanhood," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4353, The World Bank.
  16. David Evans & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Orphans and schooling in africa: a longitudinal analysis," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 35-57, February.
  17. Anne Case & Cally Ardington, 2006. "The impact of parental death on school outcomes: Longitudinal evidence from South Africa," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 401-420, August.
  18. Richard Akresh, 2004. "Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso," Working Papers 897, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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