Education plays a defining role in breaking the cycle of poverty, says Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
Stats SA on Thursday released the Poverty Trends Report (2006-2011). The report analysed trends in poverty and inequality between 2006 and 2011, based on data collected through the Income and Expenditure Survey and the Living Conditions Survey.
According to the report, the relationship between education and poverty appears strong.
"The lower the level of education attained, the more likely adults were to be poor and experience more intense levels of poverty," reads the report.
It noted that four million fewer people experienced poverty in 2011 compared to 2006.
The rich (the top 20% of earners) accounted for 61.3% of national consumption, while the poor accounted for 4.3%.
"Your levels of education would have to be higher for you to be able to get employed, so that you cannot be negatively affected by poverty," said Kefiloe Masiteng, the Deputy Director-General for Population and Social Statistics at Stats SA.
Additionally in 2011, 6.8 million people reported hunger, down from the 13 million that had reported hunger in 2002.