Changes in Standard of Living Among Population Groups in South Africa: 1998-2006

Barbara A. Anderson, University of Michigan
Mosidi Nhlapo, Statistics South Africa

We examine changes in standard of living in South Africa 1998-2006. Aspects of standard of living are combined to define four standard of living groups. The data sources are large nationally representative surveys. The percent of urban African households in the top standard of living group increased from 14% to 22% between 1998 and 2006, indicating emergence of an urban African middle class. About 43% of Coloured households and about 80% of White or Asian households were in the top group throughout the period. The percent of rural Africans in the worst group declined from 10% to 6%. In addition, the percent of the population and of rural Africans in the worst category of each of the standard of living indicators declined between 1998 and 2006, showing substantial poverty alleviation. There is no evidence of deterioration in the standard of living of White or Asian households.

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Presented in Session 104: Redistribution, Poverty and Inequality Across and Within Populations