South Africa’s Income & Expenditure Survey Takes Off

Household income and expenditure surveys are an essential component to a healthy data ecosystem and critical for economic and developmental planning and decision-making. Statistical agencies like Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) use these surveys to inform the measurement of inflation and to better understand a country’s household economy and living conditions.

“Out of every R1 spent by households in South Africa, R0,40c is spent by Gauteng [households],” says Income & Expenditure Survey (IES) 2022/23 project director Werner Ruch. This information is based on the results of the Living Conditions Survey that was conducted by Stats SA in 2014/15.

There is global consensus that household consumption expenditure is an important measuring tool that offers policymakers unique insights into living standards, specifically around poverty and inequality.

The frequency of household income and expenditure surveys is important for providing planners and policymakers with the latest official data.

On 7 November  2022, Stats SA kicked off data collection operations for IES 2022/23, which will be in the field for a year.

The IES 2022/23 is a household-based sample survey conducted by Stats SA which focuses on households’ expenditure on goods and services. The results of the survey will provide a picture of living conditions of households in South Africa. The IES aims to gather updated information on household income and spending patterns, and to measure and profile poverty and inequality in the country.

The IES is also a critical data input for the consumer price index (CPI). Stats SA will use the results of the IES 2022/23 to update the CPI basket of goods and services, as well as the basket’s weights to ensure that the CPI reflects the most recent information on consumer spending patterns. These changes will be implemented in the January 2025 CPI release (to be published in February 2025).

In 2015, the average annual household income was R138 168, with male-headed households (R165 853) earning significantly more than female-headed households (R98 911). White-headed households (R350 937) spent five times more than black African-headed households (R67 828) and three times more than the national average.

Since this information is important for understanding our society and planning for our future, it must be updated regularly to reflect the current status of the country, as well as changes in household spending behaviour.

A lot has happened since the last income and expenditure survey – including a global COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Eastern Europe between Ukraine and Russia. The IES 2022/23 will show how these events and others have impacted how those in South Africa live now since it was conducted seven years ago.

IES data will also be used in providing evidence-based information for monitoring progress on the National Development Plan’s (NDP) twin targets: (1) reducing the Gini coefficient to 0,60 (measured at 0,65 in 2015); and (2) reducing the population living below the lower-bound poverty line (LBPL) to 0% (measured at 40,0% in 2015) by 2030.

About 547 trained Stats SA field staff will undertake the arduous year-long task of collecting new information from sampled households. They can be identified through their Stats SA ID cards, caps and bibs that they will be wearing when visiting households. Furthermore, they can be verified through the fieldworker verification webpage on the Stats SA website ( and/or by contacting the Stats SA Call Centre on 012 310 8600.

Stats SA is appealing to all sampled households to cooperate with field staff by agreeing to complete the questionnaire. If you do not participate, the data collected will not be a complete or accurate reflection of the South African population. The South African government as well as the private sector needs accurate information for effective planning and policy-making.

For more information on the IES, go to