Thursday, March 22, 2018

SA's wealth figures

Credit Suisse estimated that the total net wealth of South African adults amounted to US$0.8 trillion, or R9.5 trillion, in 2017. While broadly speaking the distribution is similar to the world as a whole, the large majority of South Africans (68%) was estimated to fall into the lowest wealth category. These are people with assets of less than US$10,000, or R117,000 at the current exchange rate. The report estimated that the median wealth in South Africa was at US$5,186 (or R60,900), well below the US$10,000 cut-off.
At the other end of the scale, 58,000 South Africans, or 0.2% of the population, were identified as dollar millionaires, while 84,000 would belong to the top 1% of global wealth holders.

Financial services firm Allianz, using data from national accounts, estimates in their Global Wealth Report 2017 that the richest 10% of South Africans owned more than 70% of net financial assets. For comparison, the average of the 53 countries included in the study was 53%.

The bigger the gap between the mean and the median, the more unequally wealth in a country is distributed. In South Africa, the mean wealth figure was six times the median – the maximum figure reached at the national level for any of the countries studied. For comparison, the average in the 53 countries studied was 2.5.

The Gini coefficient for incomes in South Africa was reported as 0.7 (where 0 is total equality, and 1 is total inequality), whereas for wealth it was 0.95. (The most equal societies tend to have income coefficients of around 0.25.) These figures show wealth is even more concentrated among the rich than income in South Africa.

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