National Income Dynamic Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM)

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The National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) is a large-scale, nationally-representative survey of 7,000 South Africans. Launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s profound global and household impacts, this collaborative effort brings together over 30 researchers from South African universities and research institutions. Leveraging the established NIDS framework, NIDS-CRAM comprehensively tracks the pandemic’s effects on various socio-economic indicators.

Designed as a panel survey, NIDS-CRAM monitors South Africa’s socio-economic dynamics throughout the pandemic. Begun in early 2020 during the strict lockdown, the project involves multiple data collection waves. Led by academics and researchers, NIDS-CRAM utilises the Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) infrastructure.

The project maintains regular contact with participants, gathering data on income, employment, household well-being, grant receipt, and COVID-19 knowledge and behaviour. Key focus areas include household resource flows, food insecurity, and hunger assessment across different lockdown phases.

NIDS-CRAM offers critical insights into the pandemic’s socio-economic consequences, particularly for vulnerable populations. The project aims to inform evidence-based policy responses that mitigate negative impacts and support affected communities by pinpointing areas of heightened need, such as increased child hunger due to lockdowns. The CRAM survey is a collaboration of over 30 South African researchers from a number of universities and research organisations. The leadership team comes from Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand. It involves high-profile researchers like Professor Professors Leila Patel, Professor of Social Development Studies & Collaborating Partner: SARCHI Chair in Welfare and Social Development and Servaas van der Berg, professor of Economics at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, as well as Dr Gabrielle Wills education economist and researcher with Research and Socio-economic Policy (RESEP) and Bokang Mpeta Professor in the field of Economic and Management Sciences in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University. Additionally, the project receives support from governmental bodies and funding agencies to ensure its effective implementation and dissemination of findings for informed decision-making.