Changes in household composition since the end of apartheid : an analysis of household composition and well-being.
Changes in household composition in South Africa are examined for the period 1995 – 2006 using nationally representative household surveys. Trends show a significant fall in nuclear type households (households that contain immediate family members only) whilst a rise in extended type households (households that contain immediate family members plus ‘other’ relatives). These trends however mask more unique changes in specific household types. More specifically, amongst nuclear type households, there is a rise in ‘single person’ households alongside a fall in ‘nuclear family’ households. Within extended type households, there is a rise in non-standard ‘skip generation’ and ‘complex but related’ households alongside a fall in standard ‘three generation’ and ‘multi generation’ forms of household organisation. Furthermore household heads from different household types are shown to display considerable heterogeneity in terms of their demographic characteristics as well as their poverty levels. Poverty estimates are particularly sensitive to the choice of equivalence scale. Whilst extended type households are consistently poorer than nuclear type households across plausible equivalence scales, poverty rankings amongst specific household types change significantly when different equivalence scales are employed. Across time, the headcount ratio for nuclear type households is seen to fall whilst the headcount ratio for extended type households appears to rise.