The Individual Deprivation Measure South Africa Country Study Results

Helen Suich, Senior Research Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy (ANU)

The Individual Deprivation Measure, or IDM, is an individual-level, gender sensitive measure of multidimensional deprivation—it measures deprivation at the individual rather than household level, and is designed to discern differences in the experiences of poverty between men and women. The IDM program was a partnership between the ANU, the International Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The ANU led a studies in Indonesia in 2018 and in South Africa in 2019. The IDM programme ran between 2016 and 2020, and related research is being taken forward as the Individual Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty at ANU.

In South Africa, 14 dimensions of deprivation were measured (shown in the figure below). Some of these are already partially covered in some existing surveys (e.g. food security and access to drinking water), but the IDM includes a range of economic and social aspects which are not usually covered (e.g. the relationships, clothing and footwear and voice dimensions). Further, several IDM dimensions include aspects beyond that which is typically assessed. For example, the work dimension covers not only issues around paid work, but also includes themes on unpaid domestic and care work and on the double labour burden that can arise when both paid and unpaid work are done.

The South African country study had two parts:

  • a national-level main sample, that interviewed 8,652 individuals, 16 years and older;
  • a purposive sample that interviewed 826 individuals with disabilities and their household members (2,311 individuals in total), in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces.

There are a wide range of resource available for those who are interested in the results of the survey and the methods used for the analysis.

A revised analysis of the data was undertaken, using slightly different methods, and a series of briefing notes and documentation was produced. There are six briefing notes, describing the results for the main sample, as well as the analyses by gender, by age group, by disability status and by rural/urban locality. The sixth summarises the South African country study and the revised data analysis methods. Accompanying documentation includes reports describing the revised methods in detail, as well as providing all of the revised results. A comprehensive report published in May 2020 summarises the initial analysis of both the main sample and the purposive sample, which is available here.

There is also a series of videos, one summarising the South African country study, one for the overall results of the main sample, based on the revised analysis methods, and one each describing the results by gender, age, rural/urban locality and disability status.

A launch of the report was held in early August 2020, with Australia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms Gita Kamath, and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, which you can watch below.