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: NIDS Panel Data Release 2018 including Wave 5

NIDS Wave 5 data is now available, together with updated versions of Wave 1, Wave 2, Wave 3 and Wave 4. Data cleaning has been ongoing since the last release and new variables have been added. Please download the latest data.

The data files are available in Stata format only. Previously, the data was made available in R, SAS, and SPSS. However, these programs now have a functionality to import Stata files.
NIDS data is hosted through the DataFirst online data site Clicking on a dataset link below will take you to the relevant page on the DataFirst data site. Once there, to download the data files click on the "Get Microdata" tab.
Note: First-time users will be requested to register before downloading (please read the terms of use). After registration, you will simply need to log in to download data. See the "How to access the NIDS data” infographic by clicking below:

 Download the NIDS Wave 1 Dataset

 Download the NIDS Wave 2 Dataset

 Download the NIDS Wave 3 Dataset

 Download the NIDS Wave 4 Dataset

 Download the NIDS Wave 5 Dataset

Please note: For the time being all NIDS announcements will be made via our website and social media only. We will not be sending out announcements via our mailing list, as we are in the process of reviewing our mailing list in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). To keep up to date with NIDS please follow SALDRU on twitter @SALDRU1 or SALDRU’s Facebook page.

NIDS in the Media

The Conversation – Lots of young South Africans aren’t going to technical colleges. What can be done?
Youth Unemployment

In her article in The Conversation, Nicola Branson explained that South African tertiary enrolment levels are low, with only one-third of those who write their Grade 12 exam enrolling in post-secondary schooling. Further, fewer students are enrolled in TVETs than universities despite the former having lower admission requirements. According to the author’s research, academic merit, household income and level of parental education hinder access to tertiary education. The research’s insights suggest that to improve the situation, funding should be targeted towards academically astute middle-income students who qualify for university but end up at TVETs due to affordability. Funds should also be availed to students of lower scholastic ability from low- and middle-income households, who are currently not enrolling. Importantly, helping TVETs become institutions of choice is also required.  Read the article.


Daily Maverick - Tackling inequality sustainably – beyond social grants

Tackling inequality sustainablyIn a recent Daily Maverick op-ed, the writer, Janina Hundenborn explains findings from a paper she co-authored ‘The Drivers of Inequality in South Africa’, which assessed the sources of household income and their contribution to inequality between 1993 and 2015. Using NIDS and Project for Living Standards and Development (PSLSD) data, the analysis showed that while there was a slight improvement in inequality in since democracy, inequality remains high; with labour income found to be the most significant contributor to inequality. The research also showed that inequality would have been much worse were it not for government social grants. To find out more about the findings and proposed solutions, read the full op-ed


Training and Outreach

NIDS Hosts 5-day Panel Data Course

NIDS hosted a 5-day Panel Data Course from 16 - 20 July at UCT’s School of Economics. The course 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 5 days included panel data structure, statistics and regression; transitions over time; weighting and differential attrition. The course was designed for people with honours-level econometrics and prior experience using Stata to analyse cross-sectional household survey data and was attended by 17 researchers, lecturers, students and data specialists 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 – not only those using NIDS, but other data sources as well. 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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