Project for Statistics on Living Standards and Development 1993, Merged
Living Standards Measurement Study [hh/lsms]
The Project for Statistics on Living standards and Development was a countrywide World Bank sponsored Living Standards Measurement Survey. It covered approximately 9000 households, drawn from a representative sample of South African households. The fieldwork was undertaken during the nine months leading up to the country's first democratic elections at the end of April 1994. The purpose of the survey was to collect data on the conditions under which South Africans live in order to provide policymakers with the data necessary for development planning. This data would aid the implementation of goals such as those outlined in the Government of National Unity's Reconstruction and Development Programme.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Households and individuals
v1.1: Edited anonymised merged dataset for public distribution
This dataset contains a merged version of the original separate PSLSD data files. The files were merged at DataFirst into 2 files, a community-level file and a household-person level file. The merged files incorporate the corrections and cleaning carried out on the original files after bogus clusters were removed. Note that the data in the unmerged versions and this merged version is not necessarily identical and the merge process is not documented. The merged files should therefore be used with caution.
The PSLSD covered demographic, economic, education, and health data of enumerated households.
The survey had national coverage
The lowest level of geographic aggregation of the data is province.
The survey covered all household members. Individuals in hospitals, old age homes, hotels and hostels of educational institutions were not included in the sample. Migrant labour hostels were included. In addition to those that turned up in the selected ESDs, a sample of three hostels was chosen from a national list provided by the Human Sciences Research Council and within each of these hostels a representative sample was drawn for the households in ESDs.
Producers and sponsors
Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit
University of Cape Town
Government of Denmark
Government of the Netherlands
Government of Norway
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Bureau of Market Research was responsible for data collection in the rural and the predominantly non-African urban areas of the Transvaal excluding the homelands. MarkData conducted surveys in the Orange Free State, Qwa-Qwa, Bophuthatswana and Lebowa. Social Surveys covered the African townships in the PWW as well as Venda, Gazankulu and Kwandebele. Data Research Africa from Natal was responsible for the fieldwork in Kwazulu and Kangwane. The rest of Natal and the Ciskei was covered by the HSRC in Durban. The HSRC in Cape Town covered the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape. Finally, a team from the University of the Transkei covered theTranskei.
Bureau of Market Research
Data Research Africa
Human Sciences Research Council
The main instrument used in the survey was a comprehensive household questionnaire. This questionnaire covered a wide range of topics but was not intended to provide exhaustive coverage of any single subject. In other words, it was an integrated questionnaire aimed at capturing different aspects of living standards. The topics covered included demographics, household services, household expenditure, educational status and expenditure, remittances and marital maintenance, land access and use, employment and income, health status and expenditure and anthropometry (children under the age of six were weighed and their heights measured). This questionnaire was available to households in two languages, namely English and Afrikaans. In addition, interviewers had in their possession a translation in the dominant African language/s of the region.
In addition to the detailed household questionnaire, a community questionnaire was administered in each cluster of the sample. The purpose of this questionnaire was to elicit information on the facilities available to the community in each cluster. Questions related primarily to the provision of education, health and recreational facilities. Furthermore there was a detailed section for the prices of a range of commodities from two retail sources in or near the cluster: a formal source such as a supermarket and a less formal one such as the "corner cafe" or a "spaza". The purpose of this latter section was to obtain a measure of regional price variation both by region and by retail source. These prices were obtained by the interviewer. For the questions relating to the provision of facilities, respondents were "prominent" members of the community such as school principals, priests and chiefs.
A literacy assessment module (LAM) was administered to two respondents in each household, (a household member 13-18 years old and a one between 18 and 50) to assess literacy levels.
The data collected in clusters 217 and 218 are highly unreliable and have therefore been removed from the dataset currently available on the portal. Researchers who have downloaded the data in the past should download version 2.0 of the dataset to ensure they have the corrected data. Version 2.0 of the dataset excludes two clusters from both the 1993 and 1998 samples. During follow-up field research for the KwaZulu-Natal Income Dynamics Study (KIDS) in May 2001 it was discovered that all 39 household interviews in clusters 217 and 218 had been fabricated in both 1993 and 1998. These households have been dropped in the updated release of the data. In addition, cluster 206 is now coded as urban as this was incorrectly coded as rural in the first release of the data. Note: Weights calculated by the World Bank and provided with the original data are NOT updated to reflect these changes.
Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit. Project for Statistics on Living Standards and Development 1993, Merged [dataset]. Version 1.1. Cape Town: SALDRU [producer], 1995. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2013. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/rgzn-x098