Working paper

A decomposition analysis of health poverty trends in South Africa

Lutendo Maiwashe
July 2021

This study measures the incidence, depth, and severity of health poverty in South Africa, using ordinal self-reported data from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) for 2008–17. The resultant trend is decomposed using a Shapley value-based decomposition method. The results show that 18 per cent of the South African population were health poor in 2008. The incidence decreased to eight per cent in 2017, with the depth and severity indices following this trend. The decomposition results indicate that health poverty is higher among males, the elderly, the divorced or separated, unemployed individuals, and those residing on farms. Notably, the health status of females, Africans, the low educated, and those residing in urban areas showed significant improvements during the 2008–17 period.

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