The Determinants of Household Poverty in South Africa

Ajuruchukwu Obi, Sanelise Tafa


South Africa was privileged to be part of the MDGs agenda which was adopted in 2000. One of the aims of MDGs was to reduce extreme poverty by half in 2015. For that reason, South Africa integrated policies and strategies to rid poverty by half to that of United Nations (UN). Through all the combined policy approaches, South Africa has successfully achieved the target of halving the population living below PPP$1.25c per person per day. Whichever threshold used, the results showed that the percentage share of people living below poverty line has now decreased from 11.3 per cent in 2000 to 4.0 per cent in 2011. However, these reports are not reflecting the exact poor’s experiences because at household level there is still an outright poverty. Therefore, if the national poverty report gives a good picture about South African poverty status whereas there is still prevalence of poverty at household level, there are high chances that wrong policies in regard to poverty reduction strategies will be wrought. Hence this paper focuses on the determinants of household poverty in South Africa. The sole aim of this paper is to assess the determinants of household poverty in South Africa. The reviewed literature on determinants of poverty in South Africa would enable policy makers to see the effect of demographic characteristics on poverty in South Africa. Thus, strategies and policies aimed at alleviating poverty in South Africa can be directed to the discussed factors.


Poverty; Millennium Development Goals; Absolute poverty; Relative poverty

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Submitted: 17 January 2017
Published: 01 December 2016

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