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Orphanhood and Schooling in South Africa: Trends in the Vulnerability of Orphans between 1993 and 2005

  • Education


Using 10 nationally representative surveys conducted between 1993 and 2005, we assess the extent to which the vulnerability of orphans to poorer educational outcomes has changed over time as the AIDS crisis deepens in South Africa. In line with the existing literature, we find that at every point in time orphans are at risk of poorer educational outcomes, with maternal deaths generally having stronger negative effects than paternal deaths. However, despite a significant increase in the number of orphans over the past decade, we find no evidence of a systematic strengthening of these negative effects. In order to understand this, we explore patterns of caregiving for orphans. We find that these patterns have shifted over time. While orphans are still absorbed into extended families, single orphans are increasingly less likely to live with the surviving parent, and there is an increasing reliance on grandparents as caregivers. Up to this point, these changing patterns of caregiving within extended families seem to have avoided further worsening in the educational outcomes for the increasing number of orphans. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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