IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Have Labour Market Outcomes Affected Household Structure in South Africa? A Descriptive Analysis of Households


  • Farah Pirouz

    () (School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand)


This paper seeks to investigate how the demography of households relates to individual labour market outcomes. We comprehensively examine household size and structures in the October Household Surveys 1995, 1997, 1999 and the Labour Force Surveys September 2001 and 2002. Over the 1995-2002 period, the number of households has increased in the face of rising unemployment and the average household size has decreased signifi cantly. A rising proportion of single households mostly drives this result. We further investigate how such changes in the patterns of household composition could be correlated to changes in labour force participation rates, unemployment rates, and employment rates. We fi nd that employment rates in smaller households are substantially higher und unemployment rates lower than in larger households with more than two adult members. The shares of workless households where no member is employed, and fully employed households, where all working age adult members earn income from work, tell about employment polarisation. In particular, the share of households with unemployed members has doubled to 27 per cent in 2002, and the share of workless households, in which no member is employed, has risen to a third of all South African households. The results highlight some of the wider welfare effects of job losses and other economic variables on households in South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Farah Pirouz, 2005. "Have Labour Market Outcomes Affected Household Structure in South Africa? A Descriptive Analysis of Households," Working Papers 05100, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:05100

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2005
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Wittenberg, 2001. "Conflictual intra-household allocations," Working Papers 211, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    2. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 2009. "Surviving Unemployment Without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(1), pages 1-51, January.
    3. Case, Anne & Deaton, Angus, 1998. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1330-1361, September.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Douglas Miller, 2003. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from Pensions in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 27-50, June.
    5. repec:pri:rpdevs:wittenberg_intrahousehold_allocations is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    South Africa: unemployment; households; labour markets; employment polarisation; workless households;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:05100. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Waseema Petersen). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.