The number of South Africans living on less than $1 a day has more than doubled in a decade since shortly after the end of apartheid.
The South African Institute of Race Relations survey said 4.2m people were living on $1 a day in 2005.
This is up from 1.9m in 1996, two years after the first all-race elections.
"Poverty has increased both in absolute numbers and proportionally," SAIRR said in a statement....
Despite good economic growth in recent years, unemployment has remained consistently high at about 26%.
SAIRR says poverty is also increasing among the white population while inequality was growing among the black population.
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