The life of a 0- to 6-year-old in South Africa


A 2016 study on early childhood development published by Stats SA showed that 15% of South Africa's population of 55,9 million was between the ages of 0 and 6 years old. That means gives us 8.2 million preschoolers.

Who do the kids live with?

48% of South African mothers with children belonging to this age group are single mothers, while only 5% of fathers are identified as single. 60% of dads are legally married and 31% of mothers are married.

Since a large percentage of mothers are single, it came as no surprise that 46% of children live with only their mothers and 2% lived with dad. 12% of children live with neither parents. The racial group with the highest percentage of both parents who live with their children is are Indian and/or Asian parents and black children came in last as children who live with both parents. 

Also read: The single mom's survival guide

Who pays the bills?

One third of young children did not have any employed family members in their household. A paid salary was the main source of income for only 51% of households. The province with the most social grant recipients is Limpopo, with 89% of families receiving financial assistance from government.

Also read: How to get child support grants in South Africa

How many of these children's births were registered?

Of the children below the age of one, 11.5% have not received birth certificates. By the age of two, 5% will still not have a birth certificate. Parents of these children indicated that they have yet to apply for one. 

Also read: How to register your child's birth if you missed the 30-day deadline

How are they disciplined?

When asked about their parenting techniques specifically on 0- to 6-year-olds, 36% of black and coloured parents admitted to using physical punishments as a way to discipline, and 58% of Indian and/or Asian parents use distraction methods such as video games or TV when their children are being badly behaved. White parents were the most likely to do nothing to discipline their children. 

Also read: How to deal with difficult behaviour in your children

38% of coloured children live in overcrowded households, according to Stats SA. However, it is important to note that overcrowding was defined as "more than two person-per-room in dwelling regardless of the size of the dwelling units". The province with the most 'overcrowded' households is the Northern Cape with 40% of household falling into this category. 

49 out of 100 children aged 3 did not attended any Early Child Development facility. 13% of children aged 6 did not attend any Early Child Development facility. There are some early starters among 6 year-olds, 33% of them have already started school. 

Also read: Children must go to school aged 3, says French president Macron

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