IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Poverty and inequality trends in South Africa using different survey data


  • Derek Yu

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)


There is an abundance of literature adopting the monetary approach (i.e., using per capita income or expenditure variables) to derive poverty and inequality trends for South Africa since the transition. The most commonly used data sets used for these analyses are the censuses and the Income Expenditure Surveys (IESs) conducted by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). However, in some recent studies, alternative data sources were used, namely the All Media Products Survey (AMPS) by the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF), as well as the National Dynamic Income Study (NIDS), which is conducted by Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU). Some of the data sets are problematic in a particular year or in more than one year, which in turn makes the comparison of poverty and inequality results across the years difficult. Examples of these problems are as follows: the serious decline of income and expenditure between the 1995 and 2000 IES; the high proportion of households with zero or unspecified income in the censuses; too few household expenditure bands in the General Household Surveys (GHSs). In addition, in the various studies mentioned above, different poverty lines were used in the poverty analysis, with the most commonly used poverty line values being R250 per month in 1996 Rand, US$1 a day, US$2 a day, as well as R211 per month and R322 per month in 2000 Rand (i.e., the two official poverty lines proposed by Woolard and Leibbrandt (2006). This paper aims to consistently apply the same poverty lines (i.e., the proposed official poverty lines mentioned above) across all the available survey data, in order to explore the poverty and inequality trends over the years, and to find out if these trends are consistent across different surveys during the period under investigation. The data quality problems mentioned above are addressed (if possible), before the poverty and inequality trends are derived.

Suggested Citation

  • Derek Yu, 2010. "Poverty and inequality trends in South Africa using different survey data," Working Papers 04/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers103

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2010
    Download Restriction: no


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Smile, the beloved country
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-10-20 12:44:01


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Finn, Arden & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2013. "Mobility and Inequality in the First Three Waves of NIDS," SALDRU Working Papers 120, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    2. Arden Finn & Murray Leibbrandt & Vimal Ranchhod, 2016. "Patterns of persistence: Intergenerational mobility and education in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 175, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    3. Samson Mbewe & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Cross-Sectional Features of Wealth Inequality in South Africa: Evidence from the National Income Dynamics Study," SALDRU Working Papers 185, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    More about this item


    South Africa; Household survey; Poverty; Inequality; Missing data; Imputation;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:sza:wpaper:wpapers103. 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: (Melt van Schoor). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.