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Measuring Recent Changes in South African Inequality and Poverty using 1996 and 2001 Census Data

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  • Murray Leibbrandt
  • Laura Poswell
  • Pranushka Naidoo
  • Matthew Welch
  • Ingrid Woolard

    ()
    (University of Cape Town)

Abstract

The paper analyses poverty and inequality changes in South Africa for the period 1996 to 2001 using Census data. To gain a broader picture of well-being in South Africa, both income-based and access-based measurement approaches are employed. At the national level, findings from the income-based approach show that inequality has unambiguously increased from 1996 to 2001. As regards population group inequality, within-group inequality has increased; while between-group inequality has decreased (inequality has also increased in each province and across the rural/urban divide). The poverty analysis reveals that poverty has worsened in the nation, particularly for Africans. Provincially, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo have the highest poverty rates while the Western Cape and Gauteng have the lowest poverty rates. Poverty differs across the urban-rural divide with rural areas being relatively worse off than urban areas. However, due to the large extent of rural-urban migration, the proportion of the poor in rural areas is declining. The access-based approach focuses on type of dwelling, access to water, energy for lighting, energy for cooking, sanitation and refuse removal. The data reveal significant improvements in these access measures between 1996 and 2001. The proportion of households occupying traditional dwellings has decreased while the proportion of households occupying formal dwellings has risen slightly (approximately two-thirds of households occupy formal dwellings). Access to basic services has improved, especially with regard to access to electricity for lighting and access to telephones. On a provincial level, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape display the poorest performance in terms of access to basic services. The paper concludes by contrasting the measured changes in well-being that emerge from the income and access approaches. While income measures show worsening well-being via increases in income poverty and inequality, access measures show that well-being in South Africa has improved in a number of important dimensions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 05094.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, June 2005, pages 1-54
Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:05094

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Keywords: South Africa: poverty; well-being; inequality; Census data; income-based and access-based measurement;

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References

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  1. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-85, November.
  2. World Bank, 2003. "World Development Indicators 2003," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13920, July.
  3. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1997. "Trends in Real Income in Britain: A Microeconomic Analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 483-500.
  4. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  5. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Real National Income," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 19-39, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cally Ardington & David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt & Matthew Welch, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Estimates of Post-Apartheid Changes in South African Poverty and Inequality to key Data Imputations," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 106, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  2. Conradie, Beatrice, 2005. "Wages and wage elasticities for wine and table grapes in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.
  3. Tim Hinks, 2010. "Job Satisfaction and Employment Equity in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(2), pages 237-255, March.
  4. Kalie Pauw & Liberty Mncube, 2007. "The Impact of Growth and Redistribution on Poverty and Inequality in South Africa," Country Study 7, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  5. Tangian, Andranik, 2008. "Towards Consistent Principles of Flexicurity," WSI Discussion Papers 159, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Stiftung.
  6. Tregenna, F., 2009. "The Relationship Between Unemployment and Earnings Inequality in South Africa," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0907, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Tregenna, Fiona, 2011. "Halving Poverty in South Africa: Growth and Distributional Aspects," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  8. Kalie Pauw & Liberty Mncube, 2007. "Expanding the Social Security Net in South Africa: Opportunities, Challenges and Constraints," Country Study 8, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  9. Joern Rattsoe & Hildegunn Ekroll Stokke, 2009. "Wage inequality, comparative advantage and skill biased technical change in South Africa," Working Paper Series 9909, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  10. Haroon Bhorat & Carlene Van Der Westhuizen, 2012. "Poverty, Inequality and the Nature of Economic Growth in South Africa," Working Papers 12151, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  11. repec:ese:emodwp:em5-09 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Tangian, Andranik, 2009. "Six families of flexicurity indicators developed at the Hans Boeckler Foundation," WSI Discussion Papers 168, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Stiftung.
  13. Dorrit Posel & Michael Rogan, 2012. "Gendered trends in poverty in the post-apartheid period, 1997--2006," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 97-113, March.
  14. Martine Visser & Frikkie Booysen, 2004. "Determinants of the choice of health care facility utilised by individuals in HIV/AIDS-affected households in the Free State province of South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 087, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  15. Armando Barrientos & Sony Pellissery, 2012. "Delivering effective social assistance: does politics matter?," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series esid-009-12, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  16. Claire Vermaak, 2012. "Tracking poverty with coarse data: evidence from South Africa," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 239-265, June.
  17. Ardington, Cally & Lam, David & Leibbrandt, Murray & Welch, Matthew, 2006. "The sensitivity to key data imputations of recent estimates of income poverty and inequality in South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 822-835, September.

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