Housing and the elderly in Zimbabwe

  • A.C. Nyanguru School of Social Work, University of Zimbabwe
  • Peil Margaret Centre for African Studies, University of Birmingham

Abstract

This paper is based on a study of people aged 60 years and older living in Harare and Mutare in Zimbabwe, and villages located within 50 km of these cities. The main areas studied were home ownership, household composition, number of rooms in a house, occupancy ratio, services, building materials. and the condition of the houses. The study showed that the majority of the respondents who lived in rural areas owned their houses. However most respondents who lived in urban areas were either tenants or people of no fixed abode. The majority of the respondents were heads of households; the majority of the household heads were widows. Occupancy ratio, as expected, was higher in urban than in rural areas. More houses in urban areas than in rural areas were built from modern" materials, because of standards imposed by urban authorities. Houses in urban areas were better serviced -for example. they had electricity and piped water - and were of a better quality than those in rural areas. In general the respondents were satisfied with their living arrangements. However a surprising finding was that some respondents in the urban areas where houses were considered to be of poor quality and overcrowding was common, were very satisfied with their living arrangements. The policy implications of the findings are discussed briefly.

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Published
1993-04-01