A Decent Standard of Living
Quantifying a Decent Standard of Living in Monetary Terms
SASPRI has collaborated with colleagues at the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) and the Labour Research Service (LRS) to estimate the income required for a decent standard of living for all South Africans. This culminated in 2018 with the launch of a project report and infographic in Midrand. The project was funded by the Wits School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand.
This builds on several earlier studies over the past decade, including work by members of SASPRI in determining socially perceived necessities for an acceptable standard of living which involved focus groups across South Africa, and dedicated modules in the South African Social Attitudes Survey and the Living Conditions Survey.
The 2018 study found that a monthly income of around R7,000 per person is associated with a decent standard of living.This has now been updated using a special subset of the CPI and in 2020 amounts to R7,541 per person per month. This amount is the median per capita household income of people who possess a set of indicative items that are widely regarded as essential for an acceptable standard of living in South Africa. The items include material possessions, features of the local neighbourhood, and social networks.
Minimum Income Standard
SASPRI, the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute and the Labour Research Service took part in a pilot study to test the applicability of the “Minimum Income Standard” (MIS) approach to estimate the income required for a decent standard of living in middle income developing countries. The study was led by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, and involved pilots in both South Africa and Mexico.
SASPRI was responsible for the fieldwork in South Africa which took place in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape. A report of the South African pilot is available here.