Contextual determinants of adolescent mortality in South Africa

  • Nicole De Wet
  • Clifford Odimegwu
Keywords: Adolescent mortality, South Africa


Objectives: South Africa has a large adolescent population (approximately 20% of the total population). The survival and development of these individuals are a priority among parents and the government. In an effort to better understand the factors contributing to adolescent mortality in South Africa, this study examined the effect of household and community factors on adolescent death.

Methods: The study used data from Census 2001. Multilevel modelling was used to study the impact of community and household factors on adolescent mortality. A multivariate binary logistic 2- level model was developed. Odds ratios were produced and, statistically significant values (p<0.05) were discussed. There were 41,261 reported adolescent deaths from census data.

Results: This study found that having a few household assets, six or more people living in a residence, and high racial diversity is associated with increased odds of adolescent mortality in South Africa in 2001.

Conclusions: Socio-economic status of the household and racial diversity within communities is likely to increase adolescent mortality in South Africa. However, there is need to examine the role of other community characteristics, such as number of schools, health facilities and employment opportunities in order to create a holistic profile of the contextual determinants of adolescent mortality in the country.

Keywords: Adolescent mortality, South Africa


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905