Global Goals for Every Child: progress and disparities among children in South Africa.

Organization(s): South African Human Rights Commission, UNICEF
Regions: Southern Africa
Country: South Africa
Year: 2017
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This report presents an analysis of progress and disparities among children in South Africa. Data show significant progress during the past two decades in areas such as child poverty, child survival, mother to-child transmission of HIV and primary school attendance, among others. These are impressive achievements, but they are only part of the story. Stark gaps in opportunity – between rich and poor households, urban and rural communities, Black African and White children – perpetuate intergenerational cycles of deprivation. Disadvantages based on gender, disability and other markers persist.

The structure of the report builds on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in September 2015. It groups together child-related SDG goals and targets into six clusters: social inclusion, nutrition, health and HIV, water and sanitation, education and child protection. It uses selected indicators from the global indicator framework for which data are available to highlight critical gaps and challenges for children in South Africa. Data are derived from the latest nationally representative household surveys, such as Statistics South Africa’s General Household Survey (GHS) and the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit’s (SALDRU’s) National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS), census, administrative data from government departments and agencies, and United Nations inter-agency estimates.

Today there are 19.7 million children under the age of 18 in South Africa. The experience of childhood is
increasingly urban. In fact, over 55 per cent of children live in cities and towns. Migration is an important demographic process in shaping the distribution of the population. Nearly one in 10 children nationwide, and one in five in Gauteng, have migrated from another province. Fluid caregiving arrangements are another common feature of childhoods in South Africa. Only one in three children live with both their biological parents and one in six has lost a parent. Population projections indicate that the overall number of children in the country is reaching its peak and will start to decline gradually. The proportion of children in the total population will go down from 36 percent today to 29 percent in 2035.

Social Protection and Human Rights