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Abstract

This study investigates possible causes of poverty afflicting a community of land reform beneficiaries in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. The 38 beneficiary households had previously been clustered into four groups displaying different symptoms of poverty. Linear Discriminant Analysis was used first to distinguish households that were relatively income and asset "rich" from those that were relatively income and asset "poor", and second to distinguish households that were relatively income poor but "asset rich" from those relatively asset poor but "income rich". In the first analysis it was found that "rich" households could be distinguished from "poor" households using just two indicator variables; gender of the household head and family size. Larger, female-headed households have lower income and wealth per adult equivalent. In the second analysis, it was found that the "asset rich" had more human capital whereas the "income rich" owned vehicles and had fewer dependants per worker. Policy recommendations therefore point to education and vocational training - especially for women, better access to transport, jobs and banking facilities (to mobilise savings) in the long run, and improved and better targeting of social welfare grants for the chronically poor in the short run. These interventions are also expected to increase the demand for family planning and contraception, which in turn helps to reduce family sizes and the premature loss of breadwinners.

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