Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Orphanhood and Living Arrangements of Children in Nepal

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Orphanhood and Living Arrangements of Children in Nepal

Article excerpt


Children's living arrangement plays a crucial role on their physical, emotional as well as social development. This study aimed to examine the living arrangement of children (both orphan & non-orphan) based on a nationally representative Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2006 and 2011. This study used total sample of 0-17 years children consist of 19 935 and 20 808 respectively in 2006 and 2011 survey. The survey package in statistical software R was used to analyze the data. Chi-square test and logistic regression model were employed as statistical tools. Of the total children, 5% (95% CI, 4.7-6.0) in 2006 and 5.3% (95% CI, 4.5-5.5) in 2011were orphans. The number of paternal orphans almost doubled the number of maternal orphans in both surveys. Furthermore, approximately 7% (95% CI, 6.2-8.1) of the children lived apart from their biological parents in both surveys. This study also found that about one quarter of the children, representing 23.5% (95% CI, 21.4-25.7) in 2006 and 28.7% (95% CI, 26.8-30.6) in 2011 were living only with their biological mother. The multivariate analysis found that orphans were more likely to reside in poorest households, in households having no or unrelated adult, in female headed and more than50 year age group headed households. In conclusion, the proportion of children living with both parents had slightly decreased, whereas those living with mother had slightly increased over the time. The living arrangement in relation to household level characteristics between orphans and non-orphans was significantly varied.

Keywords: biological parent, DHS, living arrangement, Nepal, orphanhood, survey

1. Introduction

Family living arrangements greatly affects one's personal life. Living arrangements can be characterized by parental residence, marital status and the presence or absence of extended family members, including grandparents, other relatives, or non-relatives in the household (Landale, Thomas, & Van Hook, 2011). Children's living arrangements have a greater role in their physical, social and emotional health and development, as they fully depend on their families. An ideal living arrangement for a child consists of living with both biological parents. A recent survey conducted by Lippman, Wilcox, & Ryberg (2013) in 45 countries around the globe concluded that more than 80% of adults believe that the ideal living arrangements for a child is to have a mother and a father at home. Numerous studies have suggested that parents play an important role in the healthy growth and development of children. Children who grow and reside with the biological parents have demonstrated self-control behavior like; non- aggressive, self-confident, positive attitude and have less emotional or behavioural problems in comparison to those who live with their non-biological parents (Paul, 2005; Rosenberg, & Wilcox, 2006; UNICEF Office of Research, 2013). Furthermore, the study conducted by Lippman et al. (2013) also underscored that the children living with the parents are more likely to achieve better results academically, including good literacy skills as these parents help the children and encourage study habits which contribute to their success in their studies and future careers. Not only do two-parent families fare better economically than single-parent families, but also children living with both biological parents are less likely to experience a range of cognitive, emotional, and social problems that have long-term consequences for their well-being (Paul, 2005). Thus, the living arrangement is key to children's overall growth and development.

If the parents separated or divorced, or if one or both parents deceased, as a result, the child's living arrangement will substantially change. It is all determined by the local culture, decision of immediate parent, recommendations from relatives and well-wishers like: close neighbors, distance relatives. These decisions have been based on traditions, beliefs, plan and practice on raising the children after one or both parents die. …

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