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Nearly half of SA’s children have never read a book with a parent - Stats SA

Stats SA said families and households were crucial to the emotional and cognitive development of children, but more and more were left in the care of other relatives such as grandparents.

Picture: Pixabay.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says the absence of parents in their children’s lives is evident in how late they finish school.

About a quarter of 20-year-olds are still in secondary school, Stats SA said in the General Household Survey it released on Tuesday.

Stats SA said families and households were crucial to the emotional and cognitive development of children, but more and more were left in the care of other relatives such as grandparents.

The survey also found that two thirds of South Africa’s children don’t live with two parents. Only 33.8% of children live with both parents, while 43.1% of children live with their mother and one in five children live with neither of their parents. Eleven percent are orphans who have lost one or both parents.

Nearly half of South Africa’s children have never drawn or read a book with a parent or a guardian, said Stats SA.

The survey, which looked at levels of development and service delivery, found that 38.4% of children under the age of four spend their days at early childhood development centres, and Gauteng had the highest percentage at 49.8%.

It said about 97% of children go to primary school.

According to the survey results, social grants remain the second-most important source of income for households in the country after salaries. The results also show that access to water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal has improved since 2002 by between 8% and 22%.

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