Pensions and household structure of older persons in Namibia

  • D.J. Adamchak Department of Sociology, Kansas State University, USA


The purpose of this study is to assess the role of pensions in households in Namibia. The study examines the impact of pensions on household income and household structure, and describes the characteristics of pension households. Namibia is one of two countries in sub-Saharan Africa which have a national non-contributory pension programme. Findings indicate that pensions in general are the main source of income for 11.8% of all households in Namibia and that the national pension is the main source of income for 10% of households. Pension households show evidence of the skip-generation phenomenon, where there is a smaller proportion of young adults and middle-aged persons in the household, particularly males, than in non-pension households. There is also a smaller proportion of children of household heads and a much larger proportion of grandchildren in pension households. Areas with high out-migration are the areas where pensions, particularly the national pension, are the main source of income, suggesting that the security which pensions offer to the extended family enables young adults to migrate for employment, or to extend the employment search, while their children are cared for by elderly parents or other elders in the family network.


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