Race, Poverty, and Deprivation in South Africa
The aim of this paper is to explain why poverty and material deprivation in South Africa are significantly higher among those of African descent than among whites. To do so, we estimate the conditional levels of poverty and deprivation Africans would experience had they the same characteristics as whites. By comparing the actual and counterfactual distributions, we show that the racial gap in poverty and deprivation can be attributed to the cumulative disadvantaged characteristics of Africans, such as their current level of educational attainment, demographic structure, and area of residence, as well as to the inertia of past racial inequalities. Progress made in the educational and labor market outcomes of Africans after Apartheid explains the reduction in the racial poverty differential.
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