Monday, February 08, 2010

South African study finds no link between poverty and crime

A new survey conducted by South Africa's government finds no link between poverty and violent crime. The study conducted by SA Institute of Race Relations found that poverty rates varied across the South African municipalities, but shows that some areas that had high poverty rates also had low murder or crime rates.

From South Africa's Times Live we find this breakdown of the survey.

The SAIRR said Eastern Cape municipalities had the highest murder rate, 54 murders per 100,000 people, and a poverty rate of 62%.

But Limpopo municipalities recorded the lowest murder rate - while sharing the same poverty rate.

The findings form part of a local government study which assessed 80 indicators from each of 52 metropolitan and district municipalities.

The indicators included demographics, education, employment, housing, access to basic services, transport, social security, health, and crime.

Western Cape municipalities also recorded a high murder rate with a low poverty rate of 27.5%.

Poverty rates varied across municipalities, nationally and within provinces.

The Alfred Nzo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape recorded the highest poverty rate with 76%, while the lowest was in the West Coast Municipality and the Cape Winelands Municipality in the Western Cape.


mjs said...

good study. but it doesn't look at the more fundamental question.

There is no correlation between absolute poverty and crime (violent in particular) but there is a tremendous correlation between poverty and crime where there is a larger proportion of unequal distribution of incomes. it is not the poorest countries that have the greatest violence but where you find the greatest disparities in wealth that you find the greatest violence.

William Dicks said...


Would you say then that what drives crime in countries with greater disparity is not poverty, but rather the age old sin, greed?