Estimating South Africa’s black adult female social classes, demographic differentials and determinants

Eric O. Udjoe


How to incorporate women into class analysis has been a topic of heated controversy. There is a growing demand in the private sector inSouth Africato provide demographic information by social class following the demise of apartheid, especially among the Black population. This study imputes social classes among Black females inSouth Africafrom survey data using the Living Standards Measure, and examines demographic differentials among the imputed classes as well as determinants of social class. The results indicate that, although Black females constituted the largest percentage (76%) of South Africa’s female population aged 15 years and above in 2007, Blacks had the smallest percentage of accomplished middle class females (22%) and highest percentage of lower class females (39%) compared to the White or Mixed populations. Some of the demographic differentials were as expected. However, the lower mortality among children born to Black lower class females compared with the mortality among children born to emerging Black middle class females was unexpected. Being a female head or acting head of household was found to be significantly and negatively associated with being in the accomplished middle class among Black females.

Eric O. UDJO, research director, University of South Africa, Bureau of Market Research, Theo van Wijk Building, Gold Fields Entrance, Unisa Muckleneuk Campus, Pretoria 0002, South Africa. E-mail:


Black middle class, Black lower class, White middle class, Demographic, Living Standards Measure, South Africa

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54