Economic inequality increases for black Africans – Stats SA

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Economic inequality decreased for Indians/Asians and whites and ‘remained fairly constant’ for coloureds, government’s statistics show.

Stats SA has released its first Inequality Trends Report for South African, which shows that “some aspects of inequality have declined, while others have increased in the recent past.”

The report ranks black African households as facing the highest level of unemployment, as well as earning the lowest wages of any racial category when employed. They also have “significantly lower” access to medical aid cover than other racial groups.

“The distribution of earnings depicts the heavily racialised inequality present in the South African labour market between 2011 and 2015,” a statement accompanying the release of the report said.

In addition to having worse employment outcomes, black Africans also earn the lowest wages when they are employed.

“Whites, in contrast, earned substantially higher wages than all other population groups. Their monthly average real earnings were more than three times higher than those of black Africans. Females were less likely to be employed and earned approximately 30% less on average as compared to males,” said the statement.

Women in South Africa are also substantially unequal to men when it comes to pay.

“Females with no or only primary education earned roughly 55% of what males in the same groups earned,” says Statistician General Risenga Maluleke.

“Despite the high level of inequality in the country, most economic measures suggest a decrease in within-group inequality between 2006 and 2015,”

“All provinces, except for Limpopo and Eastern Cape, reported a decrease in their respective Gini coefficients.

“Individuals living in both male- and female-headed households recorded a decrease in their economic inequality across most measures between 2006 and 2015.

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“Although, individuals living in male-headed households had a bigger impact on influencing overall inequality as compared to those living in female-headed households.

“Meanwhile, economic inequality decreased for Indians/Asians and whites, it remained fairly constant for coloureds, but increased for black Africans,” the statement continued.

According to Stats SA, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal were SA’s most unequal provinces between 2009 and 2015, with Limpopo being the least.

“Overall, asset inequality has decreased over time for all provinces, except for Northern Cape and Free State,” the report showed.

Other good news is that “inequality in the social sphere has declined in certain aspects”.

This includes school attendance increasing nationally between 2002 and 2017.

“All provinces, except Western Cape and Gauteng, had above 90% of learners who benefited from government’s nutrition programmes,” the report found.

Limpopo, according to the report, has “the highest proportion of learners aged 6 to 18 years attending school.”

The picture painted by the stats relating to healthcare are much more bleak, with the report finding “substantial differences remain, by population group and province, in the use of public versus private health care facilities and in having access to medical aid.”

The full report can be read here.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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