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

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Listed:
  • Harold Alderman
  • Miriam Babita
  • Gabriel Demombynes
  • Nthabiseng Makhatha
  • Berk Özler

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Harold Alderman & Miriam Babita & Gabriel Demombynes & Nthabiseng Makhatha & Berk Özler, 2002. "How Low Can You Go? Combining Census and Survey Data for Mapping Poverty in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 11(2), pages 169-200, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:11:y:2002:i:2:p:169-200
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    Cited by:

    1. Healy, Andrew J. & Jitsuchon, Somchai, 2007. "Finding the poor in Thailand," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 739-759, October.
    2. 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," WIDER Working Paper Series 039, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Enamorado, Ted & López-Calva, Luis F. & Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos & Winkler, Hernán, 2016. "Income inequality and violent crime: Evidence from Mexico's drug war," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 128-143.
    4. World Bank, 2013. "Nepal : Small Area Estimation of Poverty, 2011," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16569, The World Bank.
    5. Fernanda Marquez-Padilla & Francisco Perez-Arce & Carlos Rodriguez-Castelan, 2015. "The (Non-) Effect of Violence on Education Evidence from the "War on Drugs" in Mexico," Working Papers WR-1082, RAND Corporation.
    6. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2004. "Isolation and Subjective Welfare," Economics Series Working Papers 216, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Deon Filmer & Kinnon Scott, 2012. "Assessing Asset Indices," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(1), pages 359-392, February.
    8. Carlo Azzarri & Elizabeth Cross, 2016. "Improved Spatially Disaggregated Livestock Measures for Uganda," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 46(1), pages 37-73, Winter.
    9. 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.
    10. Michael Noble & Helen Barnes & Gemma Wright & Benjamin Roberts, 2010. "Small Area Indices of Multiple Deprivation in South Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 281-297, January.
    11. Enamorado, Ted & López-Calva, Luis F. & Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos, 2014. "Crime and growth convergence: Evidence from Mexico," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 9-13.
    12. Fujii, Tomoki, 2004. "Commune-Level Estimation of Poverty Measures and its Application in Cambodia," WIDER Working Paper Series 048, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. 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.
    14. Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2002. "Micro-level estimation of welfare," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2911, The World Bank.
    15. Simler, Kenneth R., 2006. "Nutrition mapping in Tanzania: an exploratory analysis," FCND briefs 204, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. Cathal O'Donoghue & Karyn Morrissey & John Lennon, 2014. "Spatial Microsimulation Modelling: a Review of Applications and Methodological Choices," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 7(1), pages 26-75.
    17. Steven Stern, 2011. "Estimating Local Prevalence of Mental Health Problems," Virginia Economics Online Papers 396, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
    18. Selomane, Odirilwe & Reyers, Belinda & Biggs, Reinette & Tallis, Heather & Polasky, Stephen, 2015. "Towards integrated social–ecological sustainability indicators: Exploring the contribution and gaps in existing global data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 140-146.
    19. Permanyer, Iñaki, 2013. "Using Census Data to Explore the Spatial Distribution of Human Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-13.
    20. 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).
    21. Stephen Haslett & Jarkko Isotalo & Yonghui Liu & Simo Puntanen, 2014. "Equalities between OLSE, BLUE and BLUP in the linear model," Statistical Papers, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 543-561, May.
    22. 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).
    23. Beatrice Lorge Rogers & Kathy Macías & Parke Wilde, "undated". "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.
    24. 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.

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