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28 Aug 2012 14:52
In 2001, some 11% of South Africans fell into the category with the lowest living standards. This had improved to 1% in 2011. (Gallo)
"The improvement can be attributed in part to the increase in the number of people receiving social payments, such as old-age pensions and the child support grant," said researcher at the South African Institute of Race Relations, Georgina Alexander.
In 2001, some 11% of South Africans fell into the category with the lowest living standards. This had improved to 1% in 2011.
"In the same period, the proportion of people with the highest living standards increased from 5% to 6%," Alexander said.
The trends are captured via the Living Standards Measures (LSMs), a marketing tool designed by the South African Advertising Research Foundation.
LSM 1 is the poorest category and LSM 10 the highest.
In 2001, the greatest proportion of adults – 14% – were classified as being in LSM 3.
This proportion dropped to 6% in 2011.
Last year, the greatest proportion of adults was grouped in LSM 6 – at 22%.
"Over the last decade there has been a general migration from the bottom three (1-3) to the middle four (4-7) LSMs, showing a general increase in living standards," Alexander said.
Government social grants had helped.
The number of recipients of the child grant increased by 1 200% between 2001 and 2010/11.
In 2001, around 8% of South Africans were beneficiaries of grants.
This increased to 29% in 2010/11 and accounted for 10% of government expenditure.
According to the institute, LSMs cut across race, sex, age and other variables to categorise people according to their living standards.
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