The Effect of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic on Orphanhood and Kinship Structure in Zimbabwe. Results Based on Formal Demography and Microsimulation

Emilio Zagheni, University of California, Berkeley

The paper analyzes the effect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on orphanhood probabilities and kinship structure in Zimbabwe. An approach based on the formal demography of kinship is used to obtain insights on the effect of the epidemic on maternal orphanhood. The approach relies on demographic rates that are widely available across countries and can thus be used for comparative purposes. A microsimulation model based on SOCSIM, with larger data requirements, is calibrated to the Zimbabwean setting to quantitatively assess the crisis of care. Estimates and projections of the number of orphans, and key kinship resources available to them, are obtained for the period 1980-2050. The paper gives a methodological contribution to the literature that analyzes the material basis of traditional kin relations in sub-Saharan Africa. Substantively, it documents the extent of the orphanhood crisis in Zimbabwe, its evolution over time, and the progressive erosion of kinship resources available to orphans.

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Presented in Session 49: The Demographic Impact of Pandemics