Orphanhood, Fostering and Schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa

Thomas W. Pullum, University of Texas at Austin

Much of Sub-Saharan Africa has seen substantial increases in the proportion of children who have lost parents because of HIV/AIDS. Many of these children are taken in by grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other relatives. The increase in orphanhood has occurred within a context in which many non-orphan children normally live with foster parents and cousins. Using recent Demographic and Health Surveys for Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, this research examines school attendance and grade level in relation to whether the child is an orphan or lives separately from living parents, and compares outcomes for children with different biological relationships to the household head. It is found that children who have living parents but do not live with them tend to have the same negative outcomes as children whose parents have died, and that foster children tend to have worse outcomes than biological children of the household head in the same household.

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Presented in Session 71: International Perspectives on Family Structure and Children’s Education