Childhood Risk of Parental Absence in Rural Tanzania

Lauren Gaydosh, Princeton University

Children’s outcomes are influenced by the family structures to which they are exposed during childhood, yet we know little about the childhood experience of different family forms. Using demographic surveillance data from three regions of rural Tanzania, this paper explores the living arrangements of children, with a particular emphasis on experiences of parental absence. This paper estimates the childhood risk of parental absence until age 15, and decomposes this risk into parental death and parental migration. The paper presents estimates for proportion of childhood spent residing without the parent. Finally, using Cox’s proportional hazards regression analysis, this paper investigates the child, parental, and household level predictors of parental absence. This paper finds that parental absence due to migration is more common than due to death, and that paternal absence is more common than maternal. Together these estimates provide a detailed picture Tanzanian children’s experience of parental absence.

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Presented in Session 125: HIV/AIDS, Children, Youth and Families