Socio-demographic characteristics of street children in rural communities undergoing urbanization
Background: The concept of the street child in rural communities has received little attention. This study describes the sociodemographic characteristics of the street children found in a group of rural communities.
Method: This descriptive study is nested in a cross sectional analytical study of street children in a group of rural communities undergoing urbanization. A cluster sample of street children as defined by the United Nations was taken in the seven chosen political wards.
Results: Majority of the street children (88.9%) were within the age group 15-17 years with more males (58.3%) than females (41.7%). Up to 64.7% had attained secondary level education while only 3.9% had no formal education. A high percentage, (61.4%) were still attending school and 15.8% had no work. Of those who work on the streets, being an apprentice (16.4%), petty trading (15.0%), part-time driving (9.5%) and car washing (5.0%) were the commonest types of work. Of those still schooling, 41.6% had no form of part-time work on the streets. None of the street children lived on the street with 65% still living with parents.
However, 75% had been involved in the street life for 1-2 years with a median time of 2 years. More than 30% of their parents work outside town.
Conclusion: The street child in rural communities differs from the urban perception which often has to do with those living rough and existing outside the family framework. More studies would be needed on the driving factors for street life in rural communities undergoing urbanization.
Keywords: Street children, rural communities, socio-demographic characteristics