Nearly a fifth of South African children live in orphan-headed households, according to a Statistics SA (StatsSA) report released.
The Social Profile of SA annual report based on data from the General Household Survey between 2002 and 2011, shows that 4.7% of South Africa's children had lost both parents.
It found that 11.1% of children had lost only their fathers and that 3.3% had lost only their mothers.
According to the report, 8.1% of children lived in skip-generation households with their grandparents.
Children accounted for 40% of South Africa's population in 2011, and the youth (ages 15-24) only slightly less at 37%. Older people made up 9% of the population.
What the report showed
The report found that 65.1% of children in South Africa lived in households with a per capita income of less than R650 a month.
Close to 35% lived in households where no one was employed and where social grants and remittances were vital to buy food and education.
Social grants were received by 59.2% of children, 69% of older people, and 29.3% of South Africa's total population in 2011.
More than half (53.9%) of woman-headed households were poor compared to 31.7% of male-headed households.
There were no employed people in 55.5% of households headed by youths aged 15 to 24 and in 19.5% of households headed by older youths; 43% of woman-headed households; and 23.7% of male-headed households.
Risk of becoming unemployable
Low household income significantly contributed to insufficient access to adequate food and increased hunger.
People went hungry in 20% of households where no one was employed, compared to 11% of households with at least one employed person.
The report found the percentage of households which experienced hunger consistently declined between 2002 and 2011. Access to education had consistently improved since 2002.
The report questioned the poor conversion of education attendance into completion of secondary school, entry into higher education and completion of post-school qualifications.
The 17.5% of children and 36.4% of youth aged 15 to 24 who dropped out of educational institutions cited a lack of money to pay for fees as the main reason for dropping out.
By the age of 22, around 52.7% of youth were not attending an educational institution or working, 25.6% were working and 21.8% were still attending an educational institution.
The report found that many young people were at risk of becoming unemployable and of falling into systemic chronic poverty.
(Sapa, December 2012)
Orphan experience leads gene changes
Higher education levels in women change relationship patterns