Trends in the Percentage of Children Who Are Orphans in South Africa 1995-2005

Barbara A. Anderson, University of Michigan
Heston Phillips, Statistics South Africa

There has been great concern about AIDS in South Africa and throughout the world. The welfare of children orphaned by AIDS has increasingly become a policy concern. Thus, there is interest in knowing the percentage of children whose mother's are dead and what the trend has been. This paper estimates the percentage of children age 0-14 who were orphans in South Africa 1995-2005. Through 1998, there was no change in the percentage of orphans, probably because of the long average lag (8-10 years) between becoming HIV-positive and death. After 1998, the percentage of children who were orphans rose rapidly. Children whose mothers were ill (often with AIDS) but alive, were increasingly sent out to be fostered. Through 2005, fostered and orphaned children were overwhelmingly in the care of relatives. Even in 2005, the percentage of non-African children who were orphans remained low.

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Presented in Session 68: Demography of HIV: Understanding Patterns, Risk Factors, and Impacts of HIV/AIDS