Chronic poverty in South Africa, like elsewhere in Africa, is overwhelmingly understood as a rural phenomonon. This paper seeks to counter this belief and provides a broad overview of the current issues and debates around the urbanisation of poverty. Against background analysis of why apartheid made urban blacks poor and why these patterns of poverty are being entrenched to create chronic poverty for many urbanites, the paper sets out a methodology for profiling poverty in 9 South African cities. The objective of generating a baseline poverty profile is to provide an evolving framework for the ongoing monitoring of poverty in cities. In particular the methodology of the City Development Index CDI is explored as a comparative, quanitfiable measure of urban poverty that provides an appropriate and flexible tool for policy interventions.
Recognising, explaining and measuring chronic urban poverty in South Africa, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 23 pp.