Poverty in South Africa, the U.S. and New Haven

Since 1996, 57% of individuals in South Africa are living in poverty. Limpopo and the Eastern Cape have the highest proportion with 77% and 72% of their population living in poverty. The Western Cape has the lowest proportion in poverty with only 32%. The major city with the lowest poverty rate is Cape Town with 30%. Pretoria and Johannesburg have higher rates of 35% and 38%.

“New estimates of poverty show that the proportion of people living in poverty in South Africa has not changed significantly between 1996 and 2001. However, those households living in poverty have sunk deeper into poverty and the gap between rich and poor has widened.”

Compared to South Africa, the United States poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, its highest level since 1993. In 2009, 14.3% of people in America were living in poverty. Currently, About 46.2 million people are now considered in poverty.

On a smaller level, in 2009, 26.7% of residents in the city of New Haven,   Connecticut were living below the poverty level. Connecticut as a whole had 9.4% of residents living in poverty. “If you are poor, New Haven is a great place to live,”  says the New Haven Mayor, John DeStefano Jr. “DeStefano explained that the city’s disproportionately high volume of subsidized and rental housing helps attract lower-income residents.” He does however, think that education can be the key to a successful “rebuilding” of the city.

Many Americans, as well as those who live in Connecticut (being residents of one of the wealthiest states in the U.S.) don’t acknowledge the fact that issues like poverty are more common then we might suspect. Those who have an egocentric state of mind about our country are blind to the fact that we are not perfect and many issues that arise in countries like South Africa are present right here in our own home towns.


2 Comments on “Poverty in South Africa, the U.S. and New Haven

  1. I really like this blog!! When I think of poverty I automatically think of Africa and the poor countries, but the towns closest to me never come to mind. When I read your blog I realized that there are poor towns everywhere and poverty exists all over. I didn’t realize how poor some parts of New Haven are until reading your blog. It made me want to get involved and try to help not only the South African community but the local communities as well.

  2. I like this blog alot. It shows that African nations are not the only countries whose citizens suffer from extreme poverty. We always imagine the US as a place where prosperity and wealth is everpresent. In places, such as New Haven, this is far from the truth. A poverty rate of 26% is extremely high, especially for an american city. This research also shows some troubling facts about poverty in South Africa. Cape Town, known as South Africa’s most prosperous city, has a poverty rate of 30%. This is startling because New Haven is known as one of the poorer cities within the US and its poverty rate is lower than Cape Town. Africa as a whole suffers from for more poverty than the US, but this research shows that it also exists right in our backyards

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