HIV/AIDS, Pensions and Older Persons’ Living Arrangements: A Look at Households in Rural South Africa 2000-2010

Enid Schatz, University of Missouri, Columbia
Mark Collinson, University of the Witwatersrand

AIDS mortality is significant in South Africa. As in much of Africa, households are the primary locus of care for the sick, orphans and elderly. About 90% of older black South Africans access a non-contributory state-funded pension at age 60. Using cross-sectional Agincourt census data from 2000, 2005 and 2010, we explore how the living arrangements of older persons are shaped by pension-receipt. We track trends in composition and structure of households with and without an older person (defined as aged 50+), as well as disaggregate the “older” category into those pre- and post-pension-eligibility in each cross-section. We hypothesize that pensioners’ households are more likely (1) to be headed by older women, (2) to be large and multi-generational, and (3) to contain orphans and fostered children. Preliminary analysis suggests that older persons’ households are dependent heavy and poor; thus, while pensions are important, additional targeted interventions are needed.

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Presented in Session 65: Aging in International Perspective