More than 60% of South African children are poor

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                                          7 July 2020


More than 60% of South African children are poor

More than six out of ten children (62,1%) are identified as multidimensionally poor, according to a report on Child Poverty in South Africa released by Statistics South Africa today. The report gives an in-depth analysis of the Living Conditions Survey that was conducted in 2015. Child poverty in South Africa is multi-sectoral, with the majority of children (0-17 years) suffering from multiple deprivations simultaneously.

Black African children (68,3%) show the highest percentage of multidimensional poverty as compared to their peers from other population groups. Multidimensional poverty is highly prevalent amongst double orphans (77,3%) and paternal orphans (75,0%) as opposed to non-orphans and maternal orphans.

The report shows that more than twice as many children living in rural areas (88,4%) face multidimensional poverty compared to children in urban areas (41,3%). The highest multidimensional poverty rates are found amongst children residing in Limpopo (82,8%) and Eastern Cape (78,7%). Gauteng and Western Cape, on the other hand, are best off with respectively 33,6% and 37,1% of children being multidimensionally poor. Those living in non-metropolitan municipalities (73,7%) indicate much higher multidimensional poverty rates than children in metropolitan municipalities (39,6%).

Households with a larger number of members present a higher proportion of multidimensionally poor children than smaller sized households. Furthermore, households with many children demonstrate superior levels of multidimensional poverty in comparison to households with no or few children. Other household characteristics related to increased multidimensional poverty rates are households with no employed adults, female-headed households and household heads who attained no or low levels of education.

According to the child poverty report, children under five are most deprived in the dimensions of Housing (61,3%), Child development (57,9%)  and Health (54,4%). Among children aged 5-17 years old, the highest deprivation rates are observed for the dimensions Education, Housing and Health. For example, more than seven out of ten (74,4%) adolescents (13-17 years old) experience deprivation in Education.

Approximately half of the children (51,0%) in South Africa are considered to be monetary poor, that is they live in a household where its consumption was below the lower bound poverty line of R647 per person per month.

Furthermore, the findings show that approximately four out of ten children (42,0%) experience both money-metric poverty and multidimensional deprivation. However, there is no complete overlap between money metric and multidimensional poverty for children in South Africa. Only 9,0% of children are found to be only money-metric poor, but not multidimensional poor, whereas 20,2% are multidimensional poor only. Another 28,8% are neither monetary nor multidimensionally poor.

Issued by Statistics South Africa


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