Media Release: Living Conditions Survey (LCS) 2014/2015

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                          27 January 2017


Living Conditions Survey 2014/2015

The total annual household consumption expenditure between October 2014 and October 2015 is estimated at R1,72 trillion and the average South African household spent approximately R103 293 during the survey year. The main components of this expenditure come from housing and utilities, transport, food, and miscellaneous goods and services. This is according to the results of the Living Conditions Survey 2014/2015, released by Statistic South Africa today.


The top four consumption expenditure groups (namely housing and utilities, transport, miscellaneous goods and services, and food and non-alcoholic beverages) account for approximately three-quarters (76,4%) of all consumption expenditure in the country. Essentially, three out of every four Rands spent by South African households goes towards these four key areas.


The average annual consumption expenditure for South African households was R103 293 in 2015. However, the median expenditure for the country was just R42 522 per annum; this highlights the continued presence of the inequality that exists across households. Male-headed households accounted for just under 70% of all household expenditure in the country and spent on average about R121 363 in 2015. Female-headed household spent only about two-thirds (approximately R77 671) of what their male-headed counterparts spent in 2015, and accounted for just over 30% of all consumption expenditure in South Africa.


The results of the survey show that, on average, South African households had an income of R138 168 in 2015. Male-headed households had an average income of R165 853 per annum compared to R98 911 for female-headed households.


As the economic hub of the nation, Gauteng accounted for roughly 39,8% of all household consumption expenditure that occurred in 2015, followed by Western Cape at 18,0%. These two provinces combined accounted for well over half of all household expenditure in the country. Nevertheless, while Gauteng did have a larger share of total expenditure (which is not unexpected, given that it is the largest province in terms of population), households in the Western Cape are the richest with an average annual consumption expenditure of R163 220 and a median of R80 440, followed by households in Gauteng with an average consumption expenditure of R140 676 per annum and a median of R62 675. The Northern Cape contributed the smallest share of total expenditure, accounting for just 1,7%; however, the poorest province in terms of household expenditure was Limpopo with an average consumption expenditure of just R61 011 and a median of R31 925.


According to the report, the overwhelming bulk of household consumption expenditure was from households living in urban formal areas, which accounted for 82,2% of total expenditure. This was followed by traditional areas (11,2%), urban informal areas (3,7%) and rural formal areas (3,0%). Households living in urban informal areas had the lowest average and median expenditure of the four settlement types at R38 739 and R28 916, respectively.


Close to half (46,58%) of black African-headed households fell within the lowest two expenditure quintiles combined. In other words, each household was spending approximately less than R12 781 per annum. At the upper end of the scale, as few as 11,09% of black African-headed households were found in the upper quintile. More than a fifth (20,87%) of coloured-headed households fell in the upper expenditure quintile, whereas almost a third (32,32%) of coloured-headed households fell below the 3rd quintile. The survey also shows that relatively fewer households amongst the Indian/Asian and white population groups are found in the bottom two quintiles. While more than four in every five (80,46%) Indian/Asian-headed households fell into the upper two expenditure quintiles, this was true for the majority of white-headed households (84,60%).


Between 2011 and 2015, we observe a real increase of 10,4% and a nominal increase of 37,5% in total household expenditure. Expenditure on communication recorded the largest growth in real terms at 67,6%, followed by recreation and culture (57,9%), furnishings and household equipment (24,9%), clothing and footwear (23,3%) and housing and utilities (10,8%). Although there was negative real growth in alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-16,7%) and restaurants and hotels (-7,9%), these decreases are very likely due to under-reporting by sampled households instead of actual changes in spending behaviour.

Issued by Statistics South Africa



For technical enquiries contact:

Dr Kefiloe Masiteng

Deputy Director-General: Population and Social Statistics

Tel: 012 310 2109



Ms Nozipho Shabalala

Chief Director: Poverty & Inequality Statistics

Tel: 012 310 8610



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