are defined in the Constitution as people under the age of 18
Over 18 million children live in South Africa, making up a third of the population. It is important to understand where children live and the circumstances in which they live because this helps to inform the direction of policy responses and interventions.

Indicators for Demography

Children in South Africa

Children make up 34% of South Africa's population. More than a fifth of all children live in KwaZulu-Natal.

Children living with their biological parents

This indicator shows the number and proportion of children in South Africa who are living in the same household/dwelling with both their biological parents, with their mother only; with their father only; or who are not living with either of their biological parents.


An orphan is defined as a child under the age of 18 years whose mother, father, or both biological parents have died (including those whose living status is reported as unknown, but excluding those whose living status is unspecified).

Single orphans living with the remaining parent

A maternal orphan is defined as a child whose mother has died but whose father is alive, while a paternal orphan is a child whose father has died but whose mother is alive. Paternal orphans are morely like to be living with their remaining parent - their mother.

Child-only households

A child-only household is defined as a household in which all members are younger than 18 years, i.e. a household consisting only of children. Less than 1% of children live in child-only households.