Stats SA adjusts 'national food poverty line' to R624 a person per month

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Statistician-General of South Africa, Risenga Maluleke at a media briefing held at the Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre, Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria.
Statistician-General of South Africa, Risenga Maluleke at a media briefing held at the Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre, Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria.
PHOTO: GCIS
  • In 2020, a person needed to have at least R585 per month to meet the minimum required daily energy intake.
  • It has now been adjusted by R39 - to R624.
  • According to Statistics SA, the adjustment in the national food poverty line is due to the cost of living. 

A person in South Africa now needs to have at least  R624 per month to meet the minimum required daily energy intake, according to a report released by Statistics SA on Thursday.

It released the inflation-adjusted national poverty lines (NPLs) report for 2021, which showed that adjustments were made due to the increasing high cost of living.

According to Stats SA, the most common change was to annually adjust the NPLs, using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) series. 

READ | Second-quarter GDP better than expected, but effect of unrest and lockdowns will hit hard

The national poverty lines were constructed using the cost-of-basic needs approach, linking welfare to the consumption of goods and services. 

The lines contain both food and non-food components of household consumption expenditure.

The three cost of living measurements as at April 2021 were: 

Food poverty line - R624 per person per month;

Lower-bound poverty line - R890 per person per month;

Upper-bound poverty line - R1 335 per person per month.

The R624 food poverty line refers to the amount that individuals need to afford the minimum required daily energy intake. 

The lower bound poverty line is R890, which is the food poverty line, plus the average amount derived from non-food items of households whose total expenditure is equal to the food poverty line. 

national poverty lines
Inflation-adjusted national poverty lines from 2006 to 2021.(Screenshot from report)
national poverty lines
Inflation-adjusted national poverty lines from 2006 to 2021.(Screenshot from report)

The upper bound line refers to the food poverty line, plus the average amount derived from non-food items of households whose food expenditure equals the food poverty line.

The primary purpose of the national poverty lines is to provide a tool for the statistical measurement of money-metric poverty.

Stats SA stated in its 2020 poverty lines report that more than a quarter of the population were living below the food poverty line in 2015. 

Approximately 13.8 million South Africans were living below the food poverty line in 2015, down from a peak of 16.7 million in 2009.

At the time, the poorest three provinces in the country were consistently Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

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