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STATS SA publishes Social Profile of Vulnerable Groups

STATS SA has published a report analysing the social profile of vulnerable groups in South Africa, with the objective of establishing whether the living conditions of highly vulnerable groups, targeted by various policies and programmes, have indeed changed over the last 8 years.

The report covers the position of children, the youth, the elderly and women. People with disabilities have not been included because of data difficulties.

Using data from the General Household Survey from 2002 – 2010, the report indicates, inter alia, that in relation to children:

  • The largest number of orphans (maternal, paternal and double) is found in KwaZulu-Natal, followed by the Eastern Cape.
  • About 39% of children in South Africa live only with their mothers.
  • The number of child-headed households is low. In 2010 it was below 1%, totalling no more than 100 000 children in 2010.
  • Children are disproportionately affected by poverty. 51% of all people in South Africa live in poverty, whereas 62% of children live in poverty. 73% of children in the Eastern Cape, 71,7% in KZN and 70% of children in Limpopo live in poverty.
  • There are significant racial disparities in poverty levels as well as various other vulnerability indicators – for example 68% of black African children, compared to 3% of white children, live in poverty, while 61,5% of black African children, compared to 86,8% of Indian/Asian children, live more than 30 minutes from the closest health facility.
  • 18,6% of children in South Africa experienced hunger in 2010. Whilst this number is lower than in 2002, in a number of provinces the number is much higher and exceeds the 2006 rate of hunger. For example, 36,7% of children in the Northern Cape, 25,5% in KZN, 24,9% in the North West and 24,5% in the Eastern Cape experienced hunger.
  • 32,3% of children aged 0-4 attended some form of early childhood care and education centre.
  • The percentage of children aged 14-17 attending an educational institution (93,2%) is much lower than for children aged 7-13 (99%).
  • 22,8% of children not attending an educational institution are not doing so because of lack of funds for fees.
  • In 2010, 15% of learners were exposed to violence, punishment or verbal abuse at school – the majority of which (92,6%) was through corporal punishment administered by teachers. This is despite the fact that corporal punishment is prohibited in schools in South Africa.

In relation to women, the report found that, inter alia:

  • Female-headed households are more likely to consist of extended rather than nuclear families, and as such are more likely to be larger than male-headed households.
  • Individuals in female-headed households are more vulnerable.
  • Female-headed households live in greater poverty and rely more on remittances, pensions and grants than female-headed households.
  • Female-headed households are more likely not to have any employed household members.
  • Black African females are significantly more likely to experience hunger than their male counterparts. 19,2% of female-headed households aged 15-39 experienced hunger in 2010 compared to 11,4% of male-headed households.
  • Female-headed households are more likely to live in traditional structures and have less access to basic services such as flushing toilets.


Click here to view the STATS SA report.