- South Africa has high poverty rates, with almost a quarter of the population living below the poverty line
- Nevertheless, it continues to have one of the highest GDPs per capita on the continent
- Poverty is one the rise in the country, however
South Africa's is one of the most unequal societies in the world, with high rates of extreme poverty.
This has been the cause of much political agitation, with almost every political party proposing that it has the answers to address the issue.
But how does South Africa's poverty rate compare to those of the rest of of the world?
According to the World Poverty Index, 13.6 million South Africans live in extreme poverty. This is a quarter of South Africa's total population of 55.7 million.
When measured by GDP per capita, however, South Africa ranks as the 74th wealthiest nation in the word, with a GDP per capita of $6100.
This is almost six times the GDP per capita of Africa's poorest country (by this measure), Tanzania, which has a score of %1100.
The statistics from the Index and the most recent "Poverty Trends in South Africa" report show that poverty is actually increasing in the country.
The Index shows that roughly 8 South Africans slide below the poverty line every hour. This is in marked contrast to a country like India, where 21 people are estimated to escape poverty every hour.
While South Africa's poverty levels have been on the rise since 2011, the current numbers are still far below 2006's poverty levels. In that year, 311.6 million people (or two thirds of the population) lived below the poverty line.
This recent dip has been caused largely by a stagnant economy and little economic growth in the last five years, along with policy uncertainty, high unemployment and higher consumer prices.
The stats paint a bleak picture for South Africa, but the trends for the world as a whole are mostly positive. Globally, poverty is decreasing by a rate of one person every hour.
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