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SA households slightly better off in 2016

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The percentage of South African households with inadequate or severely inadequate access to food decreased from 23,9% in 2010 to 22,3% in 2016, according to the General Household Survey, 2016 from Statistics South Africa.
The percentage of households that experienced hunger decreased from 23,8% to 11,8% while the percentage of individuals who experienced hunger decreased from 29,3% to 13,4% over the same period.
The survey shows that 13,5% of South African households were living in ‘RDP’ or state-subsidised dwellings, this increased from 5% in 2002. A slightly higher percentage of female-headed households (16,9%) than male-headed household (11,0%) are living in these dwellings. This is in line with government policies that give preference to households headed by individuals from vulnerable groups, including females, and individuals with disabilities.
The percentage of individuals that benefited from social grants consistently increased from 12,7% in 2003 to 29,7% in 2016. Simultaneously, the percentage of households that received at least one grant increased from 29,9% in 2003 to 44,8% in 2016.
More than one-third of individuals in Eastern Cape (40,8%), Limpopo (37,6%), Northern Cape (37,1%) and KwaZulu-Natal (36,0%) were grant beneficiaries, compared to 16,9% in Gauteng and 22,0% in Western Cape. More than one-third of black African individuals (32,9%) received a social grant, compared to 27,2% of coloured individuals, 11,5% of Indian/Asian individuals and 6,2% of the white population.
Nationally, the percentage of households connected to the electricity supply from the mains has increased from 77,1% in 2002 to 84,2% in 2016. Percentage of households that used electricity for cooking increased from 58,0% in 2002 to 76,8% in 2016.
The GHS further reveals that, nationally, 63,0% of households rated the quality of water-related services they received as ‘good’. Satisfaction has, however, been eroding steadily since 2005 when 76,4% of users rated the services as good. Although 88,8% of South African households had access to piped water in 2016, only 75,1% of households in Limpopo, and 75,7% of households in Eastern Cape enjoyed such access. A further 26,8% accessed water on site while 13,3% relied on communal taps and 2,4% relied on neighbours’ taps.
Nationally, the percentage of households with access to improved sanitation increased from 62,3% in 2002 to 80,9% in 2016. The majority of households in Western Cape (94,3%) and Gauteng (90,7%) had access to adequate sanitation, while about half those in Limpopo (57,1%) and 67,4% in Mpumalanga had adequate access.
The GHS also reveals that about seven in every ten (71,4%) households reported that they went to public clinics and hospitals as their first point of access when household members fell ill or got injured. By comparison, a quarter 27,0% of households indicated that they would go to private doctors, private clinics or hospitals. The study found that 81,7% of households that attended public health-care facilities were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service they received compared to 97,5% of households that attended private health-care facilities.
The report shows an improvement of individuals with tertiary qualifications from 9,3% to 14%. According to the report, approximately 766 812 students were enrolled at higher educational institutions during 2016. More than two-thirds (66,4%) of these students were black African. However, proportionally this group is still under-represented. Only 3,3% of black Africans aged 18 to 29 years were studying as opposed to 18,8% of Indian/Asian individuals and 17,5% of the white population in this age group. Only 3,5% of the coloured population was studying during 2016.
Results show that 4,7% of South Africans aged five years and older were classified as disabled in 2016. Women (5,2%) were slightly more likely to be disabled than men (4,1%). Northern Cape (7,1%), North West (6,8%), and Free State (6,1%) presented the highest prevalence of disability in the country.
About seven in every 10 (71,4%) households reported that they went to public clinics and hospitals as their first point of access when household members fell ill or got injured. By comparison, a quarter 27,0% of households indicated that they would go to private doctors, private clinics or hospitals.
The study found that 81,7% of households that attended public health-care facilities were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service they received compared to 97,5% of households that attended private health-care facilities. A slightly larger percentage of households that attended public facilities (5,4% as opposed to private facilities 0,7%) were very dissatisfied with the service they received. Nearly a quarter (23,2%) of South African households had at least one member who belonged to a medical aid scheme. However, a relatively small percentage of individuals in South Africa (17,4%) belonged to a medical aid scheme in 2016.