“The official unemployment rate is now 31%, and is even higher among black South Africans (37%)”. Income disparity in South Africa is the one of the largest “with over 50% of the total population, mostly black South Africans, living below the poverty line”(Crush, 2003). Approximately 66.6% of total income is earned by 20% of the population, leaving the poorest 20% with only 2% of total income. Women are in a bigger loss in terms of wages as they earn 55% less than men.
Government is taking steps to eradicate poverty and provide clean water; 10m of the population has been provided access to clean water and deadline has been set for 2008 to provide the remaining 7% with clean water. One of the major reasons for the decline in employment has been the reduction in manpower by many local companies so that they can compete in the global. However, this situation seems to be changing, as there has been an increment in the privatization of various industries of South Africa; many analysts assume that unemployment rates will decrease and standard of living will increase.
The literacy rate of South Africa was around 85.5% in 2000. The average life expectancy is 53 years; this short life duration of South African is due to the fact that 21.5% of its population between the ages of 15 to 49 is infected with HIV/AIDS as of 2003. However many programs related to health awareness have been initiated by government and various non-governmental organizations.
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