The long-term impacts of orphanhood on education attainment and land inheritance among adults in rural Kenya

Case Studies & Research
16 p.

The long-term economic impacts of the AIDS epidemic on orphans have been major concerns in countries hit by the epidemic. Responding to these concerns, previous studies have investigated the schooling of orphans. Yet, few studies have investigated the impacts of orphan status into adulthood. Therefore, this paper examines the education attainment and land inheritance of former orphans, who have lost at least one parent before reaching 15, by using a survey of 889 households in Kenya in 2004. In the survey, we have asked the ages of household members when they lost their parents, if they have suffered such a loss, and identified former orphans. Among individuals who started schooling before the Free Education Program introduced in 1974, we find about a one year lower educational attainment among former maternal orphans compared with former non-orphans. We do not find a similar difference in education attainment among the younger cohorts, who started schooling after 1974. Even the Cost-Sharing Scheme introduced in 1988 does not seem to lower the educational attainment of former orphans. On inherited land, we find no significant difference between households headed by former orphans and non-orphans.

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