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Country analysis > South Africa Last update: 2020-11-27  

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An overview of poverty and inequality in South Africa - Working Paper prepared for DFID (SA)

4. Where are the poor?

According to the 1995 OHS/IES:
  • The poor are concentrated in the former homelands – Bophutatswana (north-West), Ciskei & Transkei (Eastern Cape), KwaZulu (KZN), Lebowa & Venda (Limpopo Province), the peri-urban areas and the townships.

  • 74% of the poor live in rural areas, 15% live in small towns, 4% live in the secondary cities (e.g. Pietermaritzburg) and 7% live in the major metropolitan centres (namely Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria / Johannesburg).

  • 62% of the rural population are poor, compared with 32% of those in small towns, 25% in the secondary cities and 13% in metropolitan areas.

According to OHS 99:
  • the Eastern Cape and Limpopo are the poorest provinces.

  • The Western Cape and Gauteng have the lowest rates of poverty.
According to the 1996 Census:
  • the poorest magisterial districts in the country are both in the Eastern Cape, namely Elliotdale and Willowvale [12].

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