Trend in orphanhood among children and young adults under 25 in France since 1999

Cécile Flammant, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

In 1999 there were about 800,000 orphan children–children and adults under 25 who have lost their mother, father, or both parents–in metropolitan France (Monnier, Pennec, 2005). The aim of this research is to provide updated results and to analyse the trend in orphanhood during the last decade. We estimate the age-specific shares and numbers of orphan children in early 2015, by sex of the deceased parent. We also take into account the social status of the household. We use the 1999 and 2011 Family surveys and several French household surveys, conducted since the mid-2000s, containing information about parent survival for all children and adults living in the household. We hypothesis that adult mortality is like a Gompertz’s law with context-specific parameters estimated from the data. We use the Gompertz’s law to deduce age-specific shares of orphan children, then we forecast the shares to 1 January 2015. The trends in later childbearing and decreasing adult mortality have opposite effects on the trend in orphanhood; and the evolution of fertility timing and adult mortality are different according to social status. In the end it is difficult to foresee the evolution of social disparities in orphanhood. We use micro-simulation models to take into account these disparities: we estimate shares of orphan children from social status-dependent adult mortality and fertility laws. We have already found that between 2.9% and 3.1% of children and adults aged under-25 were orphan in France in early 2015 (550,000 to 600,000 orphans): 1-2% of under-18s, and 6-7% of 18-24s. Almost two-thirds are fatherless and very few are total orphans, i. e. have lost their both parents. It is likely that orphanhood has decreased since 1999, consistent with adult mortality trend. More analyses should be run, however, as the results vary widely from one survey to the other.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session 3