Monitoring Indicators of Living Conditions in a South African Urban Community
COMMUNITY QUALITY-OF-LIFE INDICATORS: BEST CASES V
A social indicators community project was launched in 1999 to monitor changing living standards in Rhini, a low-income suburb of Grahamstown, Makana Municipality, South Africa. Since 1994, under democratic rule, considerable progress has been made in service delivery to the formerly disadvantaged in South African society in terms of access to housing, infrastructure, and a social safety net to mitigate the high rate of unemployment. Results from two representative cross-sectional household surveys (n862/n1,020) conducted in 1999 and 2007 in Rhini demonstrate major changes in material living standards. However, these increases are not reflected in assessments of the household situation. Results are discussed against the background of rising expectations and social policy under democracy. It is concluded that income and employment poverty might dilute gains from higher material living standards. Further research using panel-study data is needed to demonstrate the lasting effects of service delivery on perceived quality of life in South Africa.