White South Africans have best quality of life - IRR

Cape Town - White South Africans have considerably higher quality of life than Coloured, Indian or Asian and Black South Africans, according to the Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

In a report released on Monday, it also emerged that residents in Gauteng and the Western Cape have a much higher quality of life than those living in South Africa’s rural provinces.

READ: South Africans 2nd wealthiest in Africa 

The IRR’s Quality of Life Index, which is included in the report, seeks to track the country’s progress in improving living standards by comparing indicators across South Africa’s nine provinces and the four major race groups.
The index lists 10 indicators which are assigned a score of between 0 and 10. A score closer to 0 shows poor performance, and a score closer to 10 shows a better performance. Each province and race group then has an aggregate score, which shows the overall quality of life for that province and race group.

Quality of life indicators

The indicators are the matric pass rate; unemployment (based on the expanded definition, which includes people of working age who did not have a job and were available for employment); monthly expenditure levels of R10 000 or more; household tenure status (which means households who haven’t paid off their home loans); access to piped water; electricity for cooking; basic sanitation; frequency of waste removal; medical aid coverage; and the murder rate.

The report shows that: 

  • South Africa’s white population enjoys the highest quality of life with a score of 8.1 (when murder data was excluded).
  • Black South Africans scored the worst with a score of 5.2 (when murder data was excluded). When a nationally averaged murder rate was used, the White and Black populations scored 7.9 and 5.4 respectively.
  • a clear urban versus rural divide emerges, with residents of the more urbanised provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape enjoying better quality of life – both with an aggregate score of 6.4. (The Western Cape could have beaten Gauteng to the top spot were it not for the high murder rate in the province.);
  • residents of Limpopo and the Eastern Cape provinces have the worst quality of life with scores of 5.0; and
  • White South Africans are at least four times less likely to be unemployed than Black South Africans.

Murder rate

The Eastern Cape had the highest murder rate in South Africa with 53 per 100 000 people, followed by the Western Cape, according to the report. 

Gauteng's murder rate per 100 000 was 29 and the lowest murder rate was recorded by Limpopo with 16 murders per 100 000 people. 

The IRR notes in the report that it was not possible to get figures on murder by race, as these details are not part of the recording process of the South African Police Service. 

Worst off provinces

The Eastern Cape fared the worst of all provinces with regard to education and employment. The matric pass rate in the province for 2016 was 59.3%, while the expanded unemployment rate last year was 43.8%. 

Limpopo was the worst off province where basic sanitation is concerned where only 53.7% had access to such a service. Access to piped water was also lowest in Limpopo at 79%. 

READ: How to grow Limpopo

Gerbrandt van Heerden from the IRR and author of the report said the index also shows that Black South Africans have a far poorer quality of life than Indian or Asian and Coloured South Africans.

It’s particularly these inequalities within the broader Black population group that do not receive sufficient enough attention from policy-makers, he added. 

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