An application of different methodologies for measuring poverty in Sharpeville Township

15 September 2014

In this article a more accurate methodology for the measurement of absolute poverty, developed by Slabbert, is discussed and compared to the methodology applied by Statistics South Africa in 2000 for the mapping of poverty in South Africa. When both methodologies were applied on the same set of data of Sharpeville Township, the poverty rate measured by the Slabbert method was over three times higher than the poverty rate measured by the Stats SA method (43.1% compared to 13.7%). The study shows that both the us e of a standard national poverty line as well as proxy incomes could lead to huge inaccuracies in the measurement of poverty. On the whole, the application of a less accurate method to measure poverty was found to lead to lower determined poverty rates. When the poverty rate is lower, it leads to a lower number of households and people that are being determined as poor (5,621 people were determined to be poor in Sharpeville by the Stats SA method, compared to 17,685 by the Slabbert method). This will lead to a totally different kind of action and degree of urgency in the formulation of policies aimed at the alleviation of poverty.