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

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


Daily Maverick - Youth Unemployment in Focus: When you’re job-hunting so long that you’re no longer young

Youth Unemployment

On the 16th of April, the Daily Maverick chronicled the problem of youth unemployment in South Africa. In exploring this topic, the article drew on interviews as well as evidence drawn from data sources. In their interview with the NIDS Senior Operations Manager, Samantha Richmond, she mentioned that in South Africa, there are many job seekers who had become discouraged after waiting for work; a view which is supported by the work search stories given earlier in the article. Richmond also cited a paper by Kim Ingle and Cecil Mlatsheni, titled “The extent of churn in the South African youth labour market: Evidence from NIDS 2008-2015”, which uses NIDS data, and mentioned some of its findings which provide insight into the nature of employment and unemployment persistence amongst youth in South Africa. Read the full article.


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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