Single parents on the rise in Africa

Posted on June 3, 2017 12:00 am

In medieval Africa, cases of single parents were almost non existent. But population growth has changed all that. Rise of single parent families are now the fastest-growing family type in Africa and this has fuelled the single parents dating culture that has seen mums and single dads single parents dating where thousands of single parents meet other like minded singles. In one case your blogger is familiar with, there are literally thousands of single men and single women who all understand just how it is being a single parent.While the numbers of couples with children will grow by up to 20 per cent over the next 10 years, the numbers of one-parent families will soar by up to 60 per cent.Most Africans have benefited from decade-long period of economic prosperity except for single parents and their children largely because of stigma faced by single parents.A recent data which has collected annual data on a range of aspects of life in Africa since 2012, shows African households increased their wealth to an average of $700, despite a dip caused by the political and financial crisis in several African countries. However, almost three in five children from single-parent families live in poverty in the continent.In 2016, 59.1% of children in one-parent households lived in poverty, up from 45.3% in 2012. The proportion of children from two parent households decreased slightly throughout the decade, to 9.7% in 2012 while high proportion of lone-parent families depended on farming as their primary source of income, making them vulnerable to climate changes which reduced incomes.The new data data seem to suggest that the economic and social reforms in particular have been an important source of the rise in child poverty in lone-parent households.In some countries, reforms have placed sole parents who entered the social system on if the youngest child was aged five years or older.

Other African countries don’t even have benefits for single parents which might help mitigate the rise. While this data would not be available for all countries, overall I would expect it to contribute to some rise in poverty amongst children living in lone-parent households.Elderly, single Africans were also at high risk of poverty, with the study showing 62.3% of elderly single women lived below the poverty line in 2016, though this was down from 68.7% in 2012.The study assessed the poverty line as less than 40% of the median household income, meaning people in this category were unable to afford the goods and services needed to enjoy a normal or mainstream lifestyle.Reading through the report it is clear housing affordability was one of the greatest problems for single-parent families.In countries like Kenya, Nigeria where private property speculators are plenty, people in such countries have the most unaffordable housing in Africa and families living below the poverty line are also struggling with everyday things like breakfast, being far from transport, health care and sending children to school in old or worn-out clothes. Some countries don’t even classrooms for pupils to study and are taught under the shade of trees. For fairness reasons, i won’t mention the countries but when you google you’ll definitely find some of the names. In addition to that, it also means families needing to go without holidays and missing out on school excursions because parents can’t afford the few coins to pay for the bus. With current policies, struggles for single-income families were likely to get worse. What Africa is going to get more of is people working in very low incomes, the working poor. The compulsion to find and accept any kind of work regardless of its adequacy and the punitiveness of having to accept any kind of work so you can afford a meal per day, that would also impact on increased stress within family. In the long term, this may retard African people’s ability to get out of poverty and the length of time they remain in poverty may increase. Indeed, its tough for single parents in Africa.

Contador Harrison