The role of demographic effects in changes in poverty in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 1993 to 2004

Ingrid Woolard, University of Cape Town
Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town
David Lam, University of Michigan

In this paper we use a household panel data set to analyse household income mobility among Africans in South Africa’s most populous province, KwaZulu-Natal, between 1993 and 2004. We assess the role of the demographic factors in these changes by measuring well-being as income per adult equivalent and then by examining the relative importance of changes in the denominator of this measure. Compared to industrialised and most developing countries, mobility has been quite high, as might have been expected after the transition to democracy in South Africa. This finding appears to be robust when measurement error is controlled for. When disaggregating the sources of mobility, we find that demographic changes and employment changes account for most of the mobility observed. This is related to rapidly shifting household boundaries and considerable labour market churning.

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Presented in Session 25: Population growth and poverty linkages in Africa