Child and Young Adult Households in the Context of the AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe , 1988-2006

Daniel Ciganda, University of Western Ontario
Eric Tenkorang, University of Western Ontario

It has been assumed that the emergence of Child-Headed Households (CHH) and Young Adult Households (YAH) is an indicator of the erosion of the traditional safety nets and a direct consequence of the increasing number of orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the initial evidence presented so far suggests the process of formation of CHH and YAH is more complex than it appears to be. Using the four available waves of the DHS in Zimbabwe (1988, 1994, 1999, and 2005/2006) we find that the proportion of households with no adults have remained stable in the last years, although the number of orphans have increased significantly. In fact, a large number of children living in CHH are non-orphans which suggests that these kind of living arrangements are not always a direct consequence of parental death. Moreover, our analysis show that CHH and YAH are less likely to have unmet basic needs than children in households headed by working-age adults.

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Presented in Session 137: Family Structure and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa