Statistics South Africa has published “Poverty Profile of South Africa: Application of the poverty lines on the LCS 2008/2009”. The Living Conditions Survey has been developed by Statistics SA specifically to measure improvements in the living conditions of people in South Africa and the status of service delivery and poverty. The survey being reported on aims to provide data that will contribute to a better understanding of poverty and to provide data monitoring levels of poverty over time.
The objectives of the report are to provide: a poverty profile of households in South Africa in terms of the proportion of the population living below the poverty line, the depth and severity of poverty, as well as levels of inequality in the country; details of the living circumstances of households in South Africa; and key findings relate to poverty and inequality in South Africa.
A key finding was that between 2008 and 2009 about 26,3% of population lived below the food poverty line of R305 per person per month (the amount that an individual will need to consume enough food in a month); 39% were living below the lower-bound poverty line of R416 and 52% were living below the upper-bound poverty line of R577 per person per month. Using the international poverty lines, 10,7% of the population were living on less than $1,25 per day and 36,4% were living below the $2,50 per day poverty line. The poverty gap, using the food poverty line was 8,5% and the severity of poverty was 3,8.
Other key findings are reported below.
Poverty levels decreased between 2000 and 2006, but increased between 2006 and 2009.
There is a chance that the poor are benefiting less than the non-poor from free basic services such as free electricity, free water, free sanitation, etc. because of their disproportionate exclusion from access to the relevant services.
Using the food poverty line, it was found that Limpopo was the poorest province, with a poverty headcount of almost 50%, followed by the Eastern Cape (35,7%) and Kwazulu-Natal (33%). However, there is a shift if one uses the upper-bound poverty line. Limpopo remains the poorest but Mpumalanga is then placed second, followed by KZN.
The higher the poverty headcount of a province, the higher the poverty gap and the severity of poverty there.
Females had a higher poverty headcount than males regardless of the poverty line used.
The black African population was the most severely affected by poverty, with 61,9% living under the upper-bound poverty line.
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