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Parental status of African children in South Africa : the relationship to household composition and household socio-economic status.

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The living arrangements and social economic status of households are reportedly a reflection of their coping strategy to shocks. Particularly for African South Africans: labour migration, low and decreasing rates of marriage and HIV/AIDS pandemic among others have clearly affected both the living arrangements and the parental status of African children. In this paper, descriptive statistics were employed to compare the living arrangements and socio-economic status of households with African children according to their parental status. The GHS (2012) data was used to formulate nine exhaustive parental categories and three separate orphan hood (paternal, maternal and double) categories. Basically, a comparison of the living arrangements of multi-generational households, female headed households and households with high dependency ratios was undertaken forchildren who have deceased parents (fathers/mothers/both) to non-orphaned children (both parents are alive) where children live with either or both of their biological parents or guardians. Furthermore, geographical location, household wealth status and the reception of social grants were used as socio-economic status indicators. The results across all the variables show that households with children who are co-residing with both their parents had the preferred outcomes when compared to the other parental statuses. Households with fathers only the mother being deceased or alive but absent also exhibit preferential socio-economic status when compared to households with mothers only the father being either dead or alive but not a resident and in households with children who co-reside with neither of their parents, for reasons of death or mere absenteeism. Basically, the living arrangements and socio-economic status was worse off for the former and latter parental status. Although child poverty was not my outright focus, the wide and deeply worrisome levels of poverty amongst African children motivated this study. In this study, I observed that a greater proportion of households with African children were headed by females. In these households, and in households were children reside with absent parents, children are highly likely to be socialized in some dimensions of poverty. Government can rectify this by correcting some institutional factors. Women face more disadvantages in almost all social, economic and political institutions. Furthermore, these disadvantages are exacerbated in households with single mothers and no adult males.


Master of Arts in Population Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2016.


Theses - Population Studies.