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How can we learn about community socio-economic status and poverty in a developing country urban environment? An example from Johannesburg-Soweto, South Africa

Zoe A. Sheppard, Loughborough University
Shane Norris, University of the Witwatersrand
John M Pettifor, University of the Witwatersrand and Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital
Noel Cameron, Loughborough University
Paula Griffiths, Loughborough University

Few tested tools exist to assess poverty and socio-economic status (SES) at the community level, particularly in the urban environments of developing countries. Furthermore, there is no real sense of what the community concept actually means. Consequently, this paper will describe how findings from formative qualitative research were used to develop a quantitative tool to assess community SES in Soweto and Johannesburg in terms of how the tool was administered, the terminology used, and topics covered. This paper also discusses the level of aggregation respondents identified as defining a local community using an innovative drawing/mapping exercise. Focus groups (n=11) were conducted with 15-year-old adolescents and their caregivers from the 1990 Johannesburg-Soweto Birth-to-Twenty (Bt20) cohort and key informant in-depth interviews (n=17) with prominent members working in the Bt20 communities. This research recognises the importance of involving local people in the design of data collection tools measuring poverty and human well-being.

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Presented in Session 45: Methodological issues in measuring poverty and human welfare