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Living Arrangements of the Elderly and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

a PSC Research Project [ARCHIVE DISPLAY]

Investigators:   David Lam, Rebecca L. Thornton

This pilot project will analyze a large number of publicly available data sets from across sub-Saharan Africa that have the potential to increase our knowledge about the living arrangements and status of the elderly in this area. An important focus of the project will be exploring the impact of HIV/AIDS on the elderly. In many areas HIV/AIDS has disproportionately affected working-age adults, leaving older people to raise orphans and grandchildren. In addition, the lack of health insurance and pensions in most countries leaves older people vulnerable to their own health shocks as well as shocks to other household members. Rapid urbanization may attract younger workers to cities or other countries, leaving older people to manage their own care. In contrast to research on Asia and Latin America, relatively little systematic research has been conducted in Africa on the living arrangements and status of the elderly. As pointed out in the report of the NRC committee on Aging in Africa, an important reason for this has been a lack of African data sets to study the elderly (Cohen and Menken 2006). The availability of African census data through the IPUMS-International project and other sources, combined with new survey data, is greatly improving this situation. This project will use IPUMS-I census data for Kenya (1989, 1999), South Africa (1996, 2001), Uganda (1991, 2002), Rwanda (1991, 2002), and Ghana (2000). In addition, the Malawi National Statistics Office has provided us with 100% sample of data from 1987 and 1998. Lam and Thornton will also have access to the recently completed 2008 Malawi census. In South Africa the Cape Area Panel Study and the new National Income Dynamics Study will provide some of the best survey data on the elderly ever available in Africa.

Funding Period: 07/01/2010 to 06/30/2011

Countries of Focus: Malawi, South Africa

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