Poverty and the ‘Second Economy’ in South Africa: An Attempt to Clarify Applicable Concepts and Quantify the Extent of Relevant Challenges

"The paper starts off by dealing with the three most common money-metric measures of poverty. It goes on to argue that looking at poverty purely from an income perspective is limiting, as there are other issues that also affect quality of life – such as access to housing, sanitation, running water, education and so on. Different definitions of poverty are dealt with, as well as poverty lines. The paper also gives an overview of analyses of poverty in South Africa, and mentions the difficulties in comparing poverty levels before 1994 to those after South Africa became a democracy (because after 1994, poor ‘homelands’ were included in the figures for the first time.) The paper largely deals with poverty analyses from the late 1990s and the recent past, with particular reference to whether poverty has declined over time or not. It provides information on the percentage of individuals below the poverty line according to different definitions based on data drawn from Statistics South Africa’s surveys. The paper next turns to social mobility, and argues that education is more critical than other factors in shaping one’s mobility."