Household structure and living arrangements among older persons in selected West Africa Countries: evidence from demographic and health surveys

  • Jacob Wale Mobolaji Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Friday Asiazobor Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Akanni Ibukun Akinyemi Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Keywords: Living arrangements, household structure, elderly, older person, West Africa, support network


Background: Older persons’ living arrangements are currently major development discourses across Africa. With the increasing family nucleation, weakening traditional ties and support networks, what is the emerging pattern of living arrangements of the older persons within this changing social system in West Africa?Methods: The study utilized DHS household data on older persons aged 60 years and above in selected West African countries: Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo (n=31,695).Results: Results showed that West African older persons had an average of 5.0 household network members; proportion living alone were higher among women (21.6%) than men (10.4%), majorly widows (31.3%) or single/divorced (38.0%). Household network, headship and living arrangements varied significantly across countries by age, sex, education, marital status and wealth quintile (p<0.05).Conclusion: The study concludes that the emerging pattern of older persons living alone is relatively high, suggesting age-friendly re-assessment of the traditional support system and household resources allocation.

Author Biographies

Jacob Wale Mobolaji, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Department of Demography and Social Statistics
Friday Asiazobor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies
Akanni Ibukun Akinyemi, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Department of Demography and Social Statistics