Influence of demographic variables such as race, locale and education on explanations of poverty

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2006
TITLE AUTHOR(S): Y.D.Davids
KEYWORDS: DEMOGRAPHICS, EDUCATION, POVERTY, RACE RELATIONS
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 4387

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Abstract

There is a scarcity of research in South Africa that examines the influence and relationship of demographic variables such as race, locale and education with explanations of poverty. Studies that do take stock on the impact of demographic variables on explanations of poverty have varied tremendously. Literature reveals that there are three broad theoretical explanations of poverty: individualistic explanations, where blame is placed squarely on the poor themselves; structural explanations, where poverty is blamed on external social and economic forces; and fatalistic explanations, which attribute poverty to factors such as bad luck or illness. The goal of the current study was to understand how demographic variables such as race, locale and education influence explanations of poverty. Secondary data analysis was done on a sample of 2400 South Africans. It was found that participants explained poverty mostly in structural terms, while individualistic and fatalistic explanations were less significant. However, explanations of poverty along structural, individualistic and fatalistic were found to vary among participants from different demographic backgrounds.