School of Built Environment & Development Studies

Pranitha Maharaj

Pranitha Maharaj


Leadership SARChi Chair: Economic Development

Discipline Population Studies

Contact Number 031-260-2243

Campus Howard College Campus

Office Address A 707, 7th floor Shepstone Building

Last Updated 3 months ago


  • Pranitha Maharaj is a Professor and DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Economic Development at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. In addition, she is the editor-in-chief of the Southern African Journal of Demography. Prof Maharaj holds a PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and was previously the Academic Leader of the Development and Population Studies Cluster.
  • Prof Pranitha Maharaj has professional experience spanning more than two decades involving teaching excellence, research scholarship, and community engagement across a range of critical areas that lie at the heart of economic development. Her impressive record of research is reflected in her numerous publications in top international and national journals. She is a prolific writer with more than 60 publications in predominantly peer-reviewed, SAPSE and ISI/IBSS accredited journals that transcend disciplinary boundaries in areas broadly related to demography. Apart from journal articles, in 2013, she edited a book on Aging in Africa that was published by Springer Publishers in New York.  She also has a strong record of mentoring, supervising and graduating postgraduate students in South Africa. Under her supervision, more than 60 Masters’ students and 4 PhD students have completed their dissertations.

Research Interests

  • As part of the SARChI Chair, her research agenda is focused on a commitment to conducting in-depth inquiries into three main areas, namely: (i) family dynamics, particularly the impact of early childbearing on young men and women, (ii) migration and the informal labour market, and (iii) the situation of the elderly in the country. As the SARChI chair she is involved in high-quality multi-disciplinary research on determinants, causal processes, outcomes and interventions to improve economic development. Economic development refers simultaneously to: the improvement in the quality of life of individuals, the development of individuals across generations through the lifecycle approach, and the expansion of freedom of individuals and groups to make social and economic choices through their interactions with, among others, state provisions and supports.




  • HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Population and Development