Understanding Contemporary Household Inequality in South Africa

DPRU Working Paper 99/25.

36 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2006

See all articles by Murray Leibbrandt

Murray Leibbrandt

Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit; University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Commerce

H. Bhorat

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit

Ingrid Woolard

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 1999

Abstract

This paper uses various decomposition techniques to understand the nature of household inequality in contemporary South Africa. It examines, firstly, the importance of race in overall inequality; secondly, the contribution of major income sources to national inequality; and thirdly, the relationship between inequality, poverty and the labour market. Within-race inequality is also high with intra-African inequality being highest. The paper also shows the importance of differential access to wage income in driving household income inequality in South Africa.

Gauteng, South Africa's economic powerhouse, has long been dependent on immigration to supply its labour requirements, a phenomenon deeply rooted in the provinces early economic history and the development of mining and heavy industry. South African immigrants to the province (or in-migrants) were defined in one of two ways: individuals who were born in South Africa, but outside of Gauteng, or individuals whose most recent move in the 1996-2001 period was to Gauteng from one of the other eight provinces. In-migrants are described in terms of their demographics and educational and employment status. Further, in-migrants access to public services including electricity and water and other indicators of their living standards, such as housing, were analysed. As far as possible, the analysis compared in-migrants to non-migrants and intra-Gauteng migrants in order to provide insight into special benefits or challenges that in-migrant households may present. The Labour Force Survey module on migrant labour allowed the profiling of migrant labourers and the approximation of economic links between Gauteng and other provinces as represented by remittances.

The study found that a large proportion of Gauteng residents were born outside the province, or moved into the province in the inter-census period, indicating a relatively mobile population.

Suggested Citation

Leibbrandt, Murray Victor and Bhorat, Haroon I. and Woolard, Ingrid, Understanding Contemporary Household Inequality in South Africa (May 1999). DPRU Working Paper 99/25. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=943391 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.943391

Murray Victor Leibbrandt (Contact Author)

Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit ( email )

University of Cape Town
Private Bag X03
Rondebosch 7701, 7701
South Africa

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Commerce ( email )

Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

Haroon I. Bhorat

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit ( email )

Private Bag
Rondesbosch, 7700
South Africa
27 21 480 7162 (Phone)
27 21 423 2501 (Fax)

Ingrid Woolard

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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