Household spending up 70% over five years

Average annual household spending in South Africa has climbed by about 70% to R95,183 in the past five years, Statistics South Africa said in its latest Income and Expenditure Survey, released on Tuesday.

When adjusted for inflation, the increase amounted to 24.6% or about R18,779 a year.

The survey also showed that average levels of spending were significantly different between population groups, and that nearly a third of spending by households goes towards housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.

The figures from the 2010-11 income and spending survey will be used as a basis for calculating new weightings for the basket of goods and services measured by the consumer price index from the start of next year. The current weightings are based on data from the 2005-06 survey, the last time the survey was conducted.

Dramatic increases in electricity tariffs mean that nearly a third of spending by households goes towards housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, Statistics SA said.

This dwarfs the percentage of income spent on food, which accounted for just 12.8% of overall spending, it said.

Transport, which would include the rising cost of petrol, accounted for 17.1% of overall spending, the survey showed. Miscellaneous goods and services accounted for 14.7% of overall spending.
Average levels of spending were significantly different between population groups, the survey showed.

The annual average for households headed by Africans was R55,920 while the average for coloured-headed households was R97,965.

Indian/Asian-headed households spent an average of R198,695 a year while white-headed households spent an average of R314,524.

According to the survey, average household income levels rose by 16.7% to R119,542 over the past five years.

There were also wide divergences across various income groups.

Average income for African-headed households amounted to R69,632 while the average for coloured-headed households was R139,190.

Indian/Asian-headed households earned an average of R252,724 a year while white-headed households earned an average of R387,011 — more than 5.5 times the income of the average African-headed household.

The survey results are separate from those released in the census carried out by Stats SA in 2011. The survey was carried out between September 2010 and August 2011, and involved sampling individual households over a period of four weeks, through both diaries and questionnaires.

(Business Day Live)

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