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How Low Can You Go? Combining Census and Survey Data for Mapping Poverty in South Africa

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Author Info

  • Harold Alderman
  • Miriam Babita
  • Gabriel Demombynes
  • Nthabiseng Makhatha
  • Berk �zler

Abstract

Poverty maps, spatial descriptions of the distribution of poverty in any given country, are most useful to policymakers and researchers when they are finely disaggregated, i.e., when they represent small geographic units, such as cities, towns or villages. Unfortunately, almost all household surveys are too small to be representative at such levels of disaggregation, and most census data do not contain the required information to calculate poverty. The 1996 South African census is an exception, in that it does contain income information for each individual in the household. In this paper, we show that the income from the census data provides only a weak proxy for the average income or poverty rates at either the provincial level or at lower levels of aggregation. We also demonstrate a simple method of imputing expenditures for every household in the census, using information in the October Household Survey (OHS) and the Income Expenditure Survey (IES) in 1995. The resulting predicted household consumption values are plausible and provide a good fit with the IES data. We also provide an example which demonstrates that poverty headcount can be imputed with fair precision for magisterial districts and for transitional local councils. Finally, our paper serves as a reminder of the value of comparing various data sources for external validation, and underlines the need to make more use of census data, which seems to be underutilized in most developing countries. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.

Volume (Year): 11 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 169-200

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:11:y:2002:i:2:p:169-200

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Cited by:
  1. Enamorado, Ted & Lopez-Calva , Luis-Felipe & Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos & Winkler, Hernan, 2014. "Income inequality and violent crime : evidence from Mexico's drug war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6935, The World Bank.
  2. Emwanu, Thomas & Hoogeveen, Johannes G. & Okiira Okwi, Paul, 2006. "Updating Poverty Maps with Panel Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2076-2088, December.
  3. Simler, Kenneth R. & Nhate, Virgulino, 2005. "Poverty, inequality, and geographic targeting: Evidence from Small-Area Estimates in Mozambique," FCND discussion papers 192, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Beatrice Lorge Rogers & Kathy Macías & Parke Wilde, . "Atlas of Hunger and Malnutrition in the Dominican Republic," Working Papers in Food Policy and Nutrition 9602, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, revised 01 Apr 2007.
  5. Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2002. "Micro-level estimation of welfare," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2911, The World Bank.
  6. Michael Noble & Helen Barnes & Gemma Wright & Benjamin Roberts, 2010. "Small Area Indices of Multiple Deprivation in South Africa," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 281-297, January.
  7. Jesse Naidoo, 2009. "Finite-Sample Bias and Inconsistency in the Estimation of Poverty Maps," SALDRU Working Papers 36, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  8. Healy, Andrew J. & Jitsuchon, Somchai, 2007. "Finding the poor in Thailand," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 739-759, October.
  9. Fafchamps, Marcel & Shilpi, Forhad, 2006. "Isolation and Subjective Welfare," CEPR Discussion Papers 6001, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Fujii, Tomoki, 2004. "Commune-Level Estimation of Poverty Measures and its Application in Cambodia," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  11. Enamorado, Ted & Lopez-Calva, Luis F. & Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos, 2013. "Crime and growth convergence : evidence from Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6730, The World Bank.
  12. David Stifel & Luc Christiaensen, 2007. "Tracking Poverty Over Time in the Absence of Comparable Consumption Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 317-341, June.
  13. Simler, Kenneth R., 2006. "Nutrition mapping in Tanzania: an exploratory analysis," FCND briefs 204, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  14. Graw, Valerie & Husmann, Christine Ladenburger, 2012. "Mapping Marginality Hotspots – Geographical Targeting for Poverty Reduction," Working Papers 147917, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  15. Filmer, Deon & Scott, Kinnon, 2008. "Assessing asset indices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4605, The World Bank.
  16. Demombynes, Gabriel & Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Jenny & Lanjouw, Peter & Mistiaen, Johan & Ozler, Berk, 2002. "Producing an Improved Geographic Profile of Poverty: Methodology and Evidence from Three Developing Countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  17. Steven Stern, 2011. "Estimating Local Prevalence of Mental Health Problems," Virginia Economics Online Papers 396, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.

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