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Am J Community Psychol. 2009 Sep;44(1-2):136-47. doi: 10.1007/s10464-009-9243-y.

The impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and socioeconomic development on the living arrangements of older persons in sub-Saharan Africa: a country-level analysis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong. tak.cheng@cityu.edu.hk


This study investigates whether socioeconomic development and the HIV/AIDS pandemic are associated with living arrangement patterns in older persons in 23 sub-Saharan African countries. Country-level aggregate data were taken from previous household surveys and information provided by the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. Results showed that 13.5% of older persons (aged 60 years or over) were living with grandchildren but not adult children (i.e., skipped generation households). Countries higher in HIV/AIDS prevalence had more skipped generation households, and also more older persons living with spouse only and fewer older persons living with other relatives. Countries with higher socioeconomic development had fewer older persons living with children younger than 25 years old and more living with spouse only or with other relatives and unrelated persons. The pandemic and socioeconomic development combine to accelerate the breakdown of the extended family structure so that older persons are less and less likely to reside with, and to receive support from, their children.

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