Sunday, 7 November 2010

(Mis)representing poverty in South Africa

A new study by the Bureau of Market Research at UNISA says that "most South Africans are poor". The article doesn't just talk about inequality, either. Of the 32 million adults in the country, 24 million fall into the "poor" category. The study also appears to work with a poverty line of R50 000 a year.


R50 000 a year translates to roughly $ 3780 a year. That works out to roughly $20 (R135) a day. The global poverty line is generally considered to be either $1.25 a day or $2 a day. 75% of people in Malawi live on less than $2 a day. 70% of Mozambique's population on less than $1.25 a day.

The majority of South Africans may be very poor and/or relatively poor. Studies that lump everyone earning between R0 and R50 000 a year are a very bad source of this information.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ghana announced on Friday that they are redoing how they measure/estimate GDP, a move that will push them into the category of Middle Income Countries. 

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