The consequences of misguided economic and social policies in the previous dispensation remain evident in the structure of poverty in South Africa. Enforced migration control, job reservation for whites and inadequate education and public services have all left their mark on the social and economic structure of the population. Migration and the pattern thereof play a significant role in explaining poverty in South Africa. This paper asks who the poor are, but with a focus that enables us both to utilise a new dataset (the Khayelitsha-Mitchells Plain survey) and to investigate the migration process which links the socio-economic situation of Khayelitsha (the destination of many migrants) to the source area, the Eastern Cape. A poverty profile is constructed of South Africa and also of the Eastern and Western Cape. Further analysis of household data for the Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain area allows us to further explain the impact of migration on the structure of poverty. Within this context we investigate persistent biases in patterns of poverty and differences in the socio-economic characteristics (such as race, location, employment status and access to services) of three poverty categories, the ultra-poor, moderately poor and non-poor--Publisher description.