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

Jacob Wale Mobolaji, Friday Asiazobor, Akanni Ibukun Akinyemi


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.


Living arrangements, household structure, elderly, older person, West Africa, support network

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