Poverty and Inequality in Southern Africa: Results from a Poverty Mapping Study

Mark R. Montgomery, Population Council
Marc Levy, Columbia University
Maria Muniz, Columbia University
Adam Storeygard, Columbia University

The scope of research on poverty in developing countries has often been confined to individual-level factors, such as education, sex, and age, that are associated with levels of income and consumption. Work on inequality has generally been confined to the country level or to other broad aggregate units. But these research traditions have tended to overlook determinants of the spatial distribution of poverty and inequality. The World Bank and its research partners have recently encouraged national statistical offices to link census and survey data in detailed poverty mapping exercises. In this paper, we examine such data for South Africa, Malawi, and Mozambique, using spatial econometric techniques to analyze the geographic correlates of poverty and inequality. We focus on how rural poverty and inequality is affected by proximity to urban areas, and examine the effects of access to roads, ports, and other networks for the distribution of goods and services.

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Presented in Session 134: Demography of Poverty: Mapping Poverty in Rural and Urban Areas