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Exploring Child Poverty and Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Multidimensional Perspective

Kehinde Omotoso () and Steven Koch ()
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Kehinde Omotoso: Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

No 201718, Working Papers from University of Pretoria, Department of Economics

Abstract: In South Africa, little is known about the multiple forms of deprivation faced by the current generation of young children, and the extent to which they vary across different socio-demographic factors. This paper develops comprehensive child-specific multidimensional poverty measures (Child Multidimensional Poverty Index) employing data from General Household Surveys of 2002 and 2014, and uses these measures to assess change in the Child MPI over time. The measures presented draw on the internationally recognized Alkire-Foster methodology. However, it was adapted to include dimensions, indicators, deprivation cut-offs and weights, which reflect the unique experiences of the current child cohort, aged 0-17 years, in post-apartheid South Africa. The results indicate a reduction in Child MPI over time, from 0.150 in 2002 to 0.090 in 2014. However, the proportion of children who are deprived in at least one-third of some of the weighted indicators, in both time periods, remains high. Over 35% of children were residing in households with an inappropriate dwelling type, and experiencing poor living conditions. Moreover, there is an increase in deprivation relating to the health status of children. The results further indicate a highly unequal distribution of child multidimensional poverty across socio-demographic factors, with the highest levels concentrated in the former homeland areas. The results illustrate the potential usefulness of the Child MPI as a tool for informing and targeting policies and interventions to benefit children.

Date: 2017-03
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