The Formal Demography of Maternal Orphanhood and Its Applications to Generalized HIV/AIDS Epidemics

Emilio Zagheni, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has led to an unprecedented orphanhood crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. This article formally discusses the relationships between the demographic change induced by a generalized HIV/AIDS epidemic, and age-specific probabilities of maternal orphanhood. Classic results from the stable theory of kinship are extended to model situations in which demographic rates change over time, and to account for heterogeneity in the population. A methodology to estimate and project orphanhood probabilities from schedules of demographic rates is offered. The methods are applied to data provided by the United Nations World Population Prospects, to obtain estimates for all countries. The results from the projections indicate that the prevalence of maternal orphanhood is decreasing in most countries. The number of orphans, however, may continue to increase for several decades in some countries affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in particular in those countries where fertility will remain high.

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Presented in Session 144: Mathematical Demography