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TOPICParent-child living arrangements and children’s attainment of the required level of education in Ghana

ABSTRACT

Background: Most of the arguments are that children suffer when they grow in any other type of parent-child living arrangements other than both parents. As more single-parent families appear in societies, interest grows as to the effect of these households on children's wellbeing. Assessing the risks and impacts of family instability on children is therefore essential in planning programmes and policies to promote healthy children and families. The study used Ghana’s Demographic and Health Surveys (GDHS) 2008 and 2014 data files.

Method: Parent-child living arrangements was categorized into four namely; child does not live with any of his/her biological parents, child lives with mother alone, child lives with father alone and child lives with both parents. The required level of education was also categorized into three as follows; the child has no education, the child is not attending the required level of education and the child is attending the required level of education based on the expected school going age of the child. Data was analyzed in four stages (namely; univariate, bi-variate, trivariate and multivariate analysis) for children aged 6-17 years and categorized into their school going ages. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software was used to do the analysis. The study was organized into nine chapters.

Results: Half (50%) of the children (6-17 years) live with both parents. Twenty percent live with only their mothers, another 20% do not live with any of their parents whereas 7% live with only their fathers. From the bi-variate analysis, higher proportion of children who come from households categorized as poorer or worse live with both parents but fewer of them live without any of their parents than children from households categorized as richer or better in both 2008 and 2014. Less proportion of children who do not live with any of their parents than children who live with either one or both parents are attending the required level of education. The highest proportion of children who live with only their mothers are attending the required level of education followed by children who live with both parents. This finding might be possible because of the predominance of the extended family system in Ghana where other family members try to support single mothers to take care of their children coupled with the fact that women are more likely to invest in the lives of their children because of the anticipated benefits they expect to receive from their children.

Children in households below wealthiest category are more likely than the wealthiest to have no education or not to have been attending the required level of education than to be attending the required level of education. The result from the multivariate analyses is consistent with the result from the bi-variate analysis that indicated a significant association between household wealth and children’s attainment of the required level of education.

Conclusions: The data could not prove that parent-child living arrangements have strong and consistent effect on children’s required level of education attained but rather household wealth.