IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

How invariant is South African child poverty to the choice of equivalence scale or poverty measure?

  • Judith Streak

    (Human Sciences Research Council)

  • Derek Yu


    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Servaas van der Berg


    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

This paper offers evidence on the sensitivity of child poverty in South Africa to changes in the Adult Equivalence Scale (AES) and updates the child poverty profile based on the Income and Expenditure Survey 2005/06. Setting the poverty line at the 40th percentile of households calculated with different AESs the scope and composition of child poverty are found to be relatively insensitive to the scale used. The rankings of children of different ages, girls versus boys, racial groupings and children living in rural versus urban areas are unaffected by choice of AES, although some provincial rankings on the poverty headcount measure are. The proportions of children and households ‘correctly’ identified as poor for the full range of scales is extremely high. These findings support the argument of Woolard & Leibbrandt (2006) that it may be appropriate for profiling poverty in South Africa to use a poverty line based on a per capita welfare measure. For the construction of the child poverty profile, per capita income is used as the welfare indicator with the poverty line set at the 40th percentile of household. The profile suggests that poverty amongst children is more extensive than amongst the population or adults even after the massive injection of transfers into households with poor children through the child support grant. The child poverty headcount, depth and severity are all highest amongst children age 0-4 and lowest amongst those aged 15-17, who are not yet beneficiaries of the grants. They are also highest amongst African and Coloured children. Large variations across provinces remain. The analysis underlines the importance of prioritising children in the fight against poverty, particularly in their earliest years.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2008
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13/2008.

in new window

Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers61
Contact details of provider: Postal: Private Bag X1, 7602 Matieland
Phone: 021-8082247
Fax: +27 (0)21-808 2409
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers61. 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)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.