You’re not imagining it – polony, cucumber, mayonnaise, tinned beans and coffee prices have all spiked

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More than one-fifth (20,9%) of households, nationally, considered their access to food as inadequate or severely inadequate
More than one-fifth (20,9%) of households, nationally, considered their access to food as inadequate or severely inadequate
Sharon Seretlo/Gallo

About one in five households in SA have limited access to food.

Not only that, but the number of children not attending school at an institution went up from 10,9% in 2019 to 37,7% in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Fortunately, that number went down by almost half last year to 19.4%.

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The recently released General Household Survey (GHS), which tracks the progress of development in SA and spots service delivery gaps, paints a bleak but somewhat promising picture of South African households.

General Household Survey 2021
General Household Survey 2021

With about one in four households depending on grants for survival, it’s the poorest who are most vulnerable.

“While the the percentage of households that had limited access to food decreased from 23,6% in 2010 to 17,8% in 2019, it went up to 20,9% in 2021,” the survey reads. 

“Simultaneously, the percentage of persons with more limited access to food declined from 25,2% in 2011 to 19,5% in 2019 before similarly increasing to 23,8% in 2021.”

General Household Survey 2021
General Household Survey 2021

More than one-fifth (20,9%) of households, nationally, considered their access to food as inadequate or severely inadequate, the survey found. "Food access problems were most common in Northern Cape (35,8%), Mpumalanga (32,6%) and North West (30,9%). Only 5,7% of households in Limpopo had inadequate or severely inadequate access to food."

General Household Survey 2021
General Household Survey 2021
General Household Survey 2021
General Household Survey 2021

Grants are the main source of income for almost one-quarter (24,4%) of households nationally, according to Stats SA which released the report on 23 June.

The survey, which has reported on the state of development of households in SA since 2002, noted heartening improvements when it comes to higher education and learning.

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“The percentage of individuals aged 20 years and older who did not have any education decreased from 11,4% in 2002 to 3,2% in 2021, while those with at least a grade 12 qualification increased from 30,5% to 50,5% over the same period. 

“Inter-generational functional literacy has also decreased markedly. While 35,8% of South Africans over the age of 60 years did not complete at least a grade 7 qualification, this figure dropped to only 3,2% for those aged 20 to 39 years of age."


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