, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 483–508

Orphans in Africa: parental death, poverty, and school enrollment


DOI: 10.1353/dem.2004.0019

Cite this article as:
Case, A., Paxson, C. & Ableidinger, J. Demography (2004) 41: 483. doi:10.1353/dem.2004.0019


We examine the impact of orphanhood on children’s school enrollment in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Although poorer children in Africa are less likely to attend school, the lower enrollment of orphans is not accounted for solely by their poverty. We find that orphans are less likely to be enrolled than are nonorphans with whom they live. Consistent with Hamilton’s rule, the theory that the closeness of biological ties governs altruistic behavior, outcomes for orphans depend on the relatedness of orphans to their household heads. The lower enrollment of orphans is largely explained by the greater tendency of orphans to live with distant relatives or unrelated caregivers.

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Case
    • 1
  • Christina Paxson
    • 1
  • Joseph Ableidinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Health and WellbeingPrinceton UniversityPrinceton