South Africa: Income Gaps Worrying - Manuel

Cape Town — The most startling figures in the Census 2011 results are on income distribution among race and gender groups, Planning Minister Trevor Manuel said on Tuesday.

Although he found the gaps in earnings high, he was not surprised.

"It confirms our worst fears and I think it represents us with an enormous challenge...," Manuel told reporters in Cape Town.

The census showed the gap in income between white- and black-headed households was still significantly high.

Black-headed households had an average annual income of R60,613 in 2011, the census statistical release revealed.

White households earned on average about six times more a year, R365,134 per annum.

Households headed by women were worse off in terms of pay.

Female-headed households earned on average R67,330 in 2011, compared to R128,329 for their male counterparts.

Manuel said it was important for organs of state, business and civil society to use this information in making decisions.

The most surprising figure for Statistics Council chairman Howard Gabriels was the rate of growth in Gauteng and the Western Cape, which he said was faster than he expected.

"If you look at all the models developed over the last two years, provincial distribution of population estimates were lower for both provinces," Gabriels said.

The third census undertaken in post-1994 South Africa showed some major shifts in population between provinces.

The greatest appeared to have been in Gauteng. There were 7.6 million people counted in that region in the 1996 census. This had grown to 9.2 million by 2001 (a 20.4 percent increase), and to 12.3 million last year -- an increase of 33.7 percent from 1996 to 2011.

The population of the Western Cape grew by 28.7 percent -- from almost four million to 5.9 million -- in the same period.

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