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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Murray Leibbrandt & Laura Poswell & Pranushka Naidoo & Matthew Welch & Ingrid Woolard, 2005. "Measuring Recent Changes in South African Inequality and Poverty using 1996 and 2001 Census Data," Working Papers 05094, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:05094
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1997. "Trends in Real Income in Britain: A Microeconomic Analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 483-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Kalie Pauw & Liberty Mncube, 2007. "Expanding the Social Security Net in South Africa: Opportunities, Challenges and Constraints," Working Papers 07127, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    3. Tregenna, Fiona, 2011. "Halving Poverty in South Africa: Growth and Distributional Aspects," WIDER Working Paper Series 060, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Rattsø, Jørn & Stokke, Hildegunn, 2009. "Wage inequality, comparative advantage and skill biased technical change in South Africa," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 34, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    7. 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.
    8. Jørn Rattsø & Hildegunn E. Stokke, 2013. "Trade, Skill Biased Technical Change and Wage Inequality in South Africa," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 419-431, August.
    9. Ronelle Burger & Servaas Berg & Sarel Walt & Derek Yu, 2017. "The Long Walk: Considering the Enduring Spatial and Racial Dimensions of Deprivation Two Decades After the Fall of Apartheid," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 1101-1123, February.
    10. Posel, Dorrit & Rogan, Michael, 2014. "Measured as poor versus feeling poor: Comparing objective and subjective poverty rates in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 133, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. 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.
    12. Tangian, Andranik, 2009. "Six families of flexicurity indicators developed at the Hans Boeckler Foundation," WSI Working Papers 168, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    13. Julian May & Charles Meth, 2007. "Dualism or underdevelopment in South Africa: what does a quantitative assessment of poverty, inequality and employment reveal?," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 271-287.
    14. Claire Vermaak, 2012. "Tracking poverty with coarse data: evidence from South Africa," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(2), pages 239-265, June.
    15. Jo Lorentzen & Anton Cartwright & Charles Meth, 2010. "Trade Liberalization, Rural Poverty and the Environment: A Case Study of Sugarcane Production in the Incomati River Basin in Mpumalanga, South Africa," Chapters,in: Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. 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.
    17. Kehinde O. Omotoso & Steven F. Koch, 2017. "Exploring Child Poverty and Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Multidimensional Perspective," Working Papers 201718, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    18. Kalie Pauw & Liberty Mncube, 2007. "The Impact of Growth and Redistribution on Poverty and Inequality in South Africa," Working Papers 07126, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    19. 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.
    20. Wilkinson, Kate, 2009. "Adapting EUROMOD for use in a developing country - the case of South Africa and SAMOD," EUROMOD Working Papers EM5/09, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    21. Tangian, Andranik, 2008. "Towards Consistent Principles of Flexicurity," WSI Working Papers 159, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    22. Bhorat, Haroon & Hirsch, Alan & Kanbur, Ravi & Ncube, Mthuli, 2014. "Economic Policy in South Africa: Past, Present, and Future," Working Papers 180150, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    23. 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.
    24. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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