Understanding Gauteng's core and periphery through income

Earlier GCRO maps on income, such as July 2014, have represented average income per ward. The July 2017 Map of the Month offers a different approach in that it depicts the percentage of individuals in each ward that earns less than R 1 600 per month according to the 2011 census (around R 2 200 in today’s terms). This shows the extent to which a ward is dominated by individuals whose income falls in the lowest income bracket, comprised largely of those who are unemployed, those who depend on grants or remittances for their income, and those who work but earn very little.* In wards shaded dark green, less than 40% of individuals were earning less than R 1 600 per month in 2011. By contrast, in wards shaded red more than 72% of the respondents were earning less than R 1 600 per month.

This map is drawn from a forthcoming GCRO research report entitled Uneven spaces: Core and periphery in the Gauteng City-Region. This report explores the distinctions between core and periphery through a variety of dimensions. The thick boundary depicted on the map results from a binary index developed by GCRO in order to distinguish between core and periphery. This index is based on economic, demographic and land cover information, as explained in the May 2013 Map of the Month. According to that definition, areas inside the thick boundary are core areas while other areas are peripheral.

Unsurprisingly, since the index includes economic indicators, many wards with low percentages of low earning individuals are inside the boundary while those with high percentages are outside the boundary. However there are some exceptions. Wards in Soweto and Katlehong have high percentages of low income earners, but are included as core by virtue of their large populations and urban land cover. Meanwhile, some wards, for example in Merafong municipality, are not defined as core by the index, but nevertheless have low proportions of low earning individuals. This underscores the sometimes indeterminate and contradictory nature of core and periphery distinctions.

* The Census asks for the individual gross monthly income of all household members, for sources including grants, UIF, remittances, rentals, investments, sales of products, services, etc. Individuals include children, and Census enumerators were advised to record any child-support grants next to the names of the children being supported, not their caregivers.

Project link: Peripheries and Rural/Urban transitions


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