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Cape Town least unequal SA city

Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Published Dec 4, 2012


Cape Town - A report compiled by the UN has found that Cape Town is actually the most equal city in South Africa.

The latest UN State of the Cities report 2012/13 and the earlier 2010/11 report put Johannesburg, despite what social commentators have had to say, as less equal than Cape Town.

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The report warns that inequality has a dire impact on progress in all South African cities.

“Three South African cities top the list of the most unequal cities in the world, when measured on income-based data gathered in a UN-Habitat survey of cities in 109 countries,” the earlier report found. reported the findings show “Buffalo City (East London), Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni (East Rand)” as the most unequal South African cities and Cape Town the least unequal.

In 2011, the UN used the Gini coefficient ranking to measure the inequality of income. A Gini coefficient score of 0 shows income equality, while a score of 1 translates to the worst inequality. Any city with a score equal to or above 0.4 is home to high inequality.

In 2011, both East London and Johannesburg had a score of 0.75, the East Rand and Bloemfontein 0.74, Pietermaritzburg 0.73, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Durban carry a 0.72 rating, while Cape Town has a rating of 0.67, reported

This year, the UN found cities could be broken up into six categories. The best performers recorded “very solid prosperity” or above 0.9 on the index and the worst performers recorded “very weak prosperity” or below 0.5.

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This year, UN researchers created a City Prosperity Index (CPI) to measure economic and social progress made by the world’s leading cities and how inequality effects prosperity.

It looked at productivity, consumption, quality of life, infrastructure development and equality and scored cities between zero and one. (One being the best.)

Both Cape Town and Johannesburg scored “solid” or above 0.7 but as soon as equality was considered they dropped below 0.6 and 0.5 respectively on the index.

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Equality was determined by taking income inequality and inequality of access to services and infrastructure into account.

The report noted inequality is worse in Johannesburg (below 0.1) than in Cape Town (above 0.2) but compared to cities in other countries South Africa has the highest levels of inequality of 109 countries studied. - Cape Times

Updated 4 December 12:40pm: The introduction to this article was updated to remove the reference to racism for the sake of clarity. 

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