Welcome to the National Income Dynamics Study

NIDS, telling the stories of the people of South Africa.

The National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) has been providing empirical data on the changing lives of South Africans since 2008. NIDS is an initiative of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and is implemented by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

As the first national panel study of individuals in South Africa, NIDS provides unique insights into the lives of individual South Africans over time. To help people effectively use NIDS, NIDS provides example findings, scholarships, summary videos and training on how to use its panel data.


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New Dataset including Wave 4

A new release of the NIDS data is now available. This release addresses 2 main issues affecting the weights variables, w’x’_pweight in the indderived data file and the w`x’_wgt in the hhderived data file (`x’ is the wave number). The issues are as follows:

1.  Missing panel weights for some babies born to CSM mothers after Wave 1 (2008).

2.  One (now adult) respondent with a missing weight.

Other minor issues can be found in the change documentation.

We recommend that users who have downloaded the data on or after the 19th May 2016 (Wave1_V6.0, Wave2_V3.0, Wave3_V2.0 and Wave1_V6.0) and have made use of the w’x’_pweight and the w`x’_wgt variables, re-run their analysis.

Download our datasets and program libraries.

NIDS in the Media

Business Day - Binge-drinking is a huge problem in South Africa ­­– but we can’t admit it

Binge-drinking in SABusiness Day published an article by Dave Chambers on the 27th of December 2017. The article describes findings from research by Nicole Vellios and Professor Corné van Walbeek of the University of Cape Town, which analysed data from the 2014/2015 round of the NIDS study. The researchers found that 50% of men and 20% of women say that they drink and ultimately, 14% of South Africa’s adult population admit binge-drinking (using the definition for binge-drinking as drinking five or more drinks a day). A high prevalence of binge-drinking was found among males, black Africans, people between 25 and 34 years of age and those who live with their partners. Admissions of drinking in the data analysed, imply that 4.8-billion alcoholic drinks were consumed in 2014/15, but this would only account for a quarter of the drinks on which SARS collected excise duties over the same period; hence the title of the newspaper article. Read the article or listen to an interview with Professor Corné van Walbeek about this research, on Cape Talk’s John Maytham Show.


Sunday Times - Forget BEE: the middle is what needs to multiply

Forget BEEFarren Collins wrote an article on 31 December 2017, viewable by Sunday Times subscribers. From interviews with economists, the author paints the picture of there being a perception of a bigger, more transformed and faster growing middle class of South Africa, than there is in reality, despite BEE. The article mentions findings from research by SALDRU which uses the NIDS data and shows that only 20% of South Africans have little to no chance of falling into poverty, as they have at least R2,900 worth of disposable income per month. These households were defined as constituting the nation’s middle class and are credited with driving economic growth and reducing inequality through their consumption of goods and services. Professor Murray Leibbrandt (one of the SALDRU researchers involved with this research) explained to Collins that in reality the middle class is not growing fast, and the few Africans who fall in middle class bear the economic burden for their relatives. Watch a NIDS video based on this research.

Training and Outreach

NIDS Hosts Year-End 3-day Panel Data Course

The 3-day NIDS Panel Data Course, which took place from 6 - 8 December at UCT’s School of Economics, provided an introduction to analysing the NIDS Wave 1-4 data using Stata. More specifically, the techniques used in the analysis of longitudinal household survey data (i.e. panel data) were explored. Accordingly, some of the topics covered over the 3 days included panel data management, transitions over time, weighting and differential attrition. The course was designed for people with prior experience using Stata to analyse cross-sectional household survey data and was attended by 22 economics researchers, lecturers, students and monitoring and evaluation practitioners from across South Africa. According to many of the attendees, the skills that they developed during the course will prove useful for their future research endeavours. Subscribe to the NIDS course mailing list if you would like to be notified of upcoming NIDS courses. Click here for more information about NIDS courses.

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