Quality of life among South Africans

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2009
TITLE AUTHOR(S): F.Gaibie, Y.D.Davids
KEYWORDS: DEMOCRACY, JOB CREATION, POST APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA, POVERTY, PUBLIC ATTITUDE, PUBLIC PERCEPTION
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 6004

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Abstract

Quality of life, while a subject of interest and relevance to all countries, is of particular interest in a country such as South Africa where, up until 14 years ago opportunities and resources were allocated to citizens on the basis of their racial classification. In modern-day South Africa a democratically elected government strives to redress inequalities and prejudices of the past in the attempt to provide all South Africans with a better life. Just how far has South Africa progressed in achieving this goal, however? This study has undertaken to measure the quality of life of South Africans in attempt to ascertain which factors are determining what make South Africans happy and who those happy and satisfied South Africans are. Data from a nationally-representative survey of a sample of 3321 adult respondents was used. The survey, the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS), is an on-going, annual survey measuring the South African public's attitudes, beliefs, behavior patterns and values in relation to democracy and governance, social identity, service delivery, among other subjects. Households were selected from a master sampling frame and respondents randomly selected within those households. Data was analysed by cross-tabulating happiness, life satisfaction and optimism with seven predictor variables, namely, race, gender, age, geotype, education level, economic status, satisfaction with basic governmental services, and fear of crime. The second part of the analysis was employing a series of linear regressions. The main findings were that: 1) life satisfaction and happiness levels fell along the same lines as previous research on quality of life in South Africa, namely that being white and having a higher income than most tended to mean a high quality of life, and that, 2) while black Africans still held much hope and optimism for the future, their quality of life appears to be determined by their current life circumstances.