Statistics SA: Whites Still Hold More SA Wealth Than Blacks

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Despite all moves to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, report from statistics SA says White South Africans still earn more than blacks.

New data published by Statistics SA on Friday says Black South Africans  still earned only about one-fifth as much as their white counterparts in 2015, on average.

Statistics SA Living Conditions Survey detailed that annual household income for blacks stood at an average of R92,893 compared with R444,446 for whites.

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To this, the department  said although South Africa is known for its extreme income inequality, the degree of wealth inequality is even greater. The national average income was 138,168 rand. Total household income in South Africa was R2.3 trillion.

This report brings to mind, last year’s report by tax and survey data suggesting that 10% of the SA population own at least 90% to 95% of all assets, although they earn “only” about 55% to 60% of all income.

Next to it is that 40% of the population – often considered as the middle class – earn about 30% to 35% of all income but own only 5% to 10% of all wealth. The poorest 50% of the population, who earn about 10% of all income, own no measurable wealth.

At this report, the  tax and survey data noted that the level and distribution of wealth in a country are important indicators of the welfare of its citizens in the longer term.

It said while income and consumption tell us something about the current living standards of a household or a society, data on assets and debts are important in assessing whether households can maintain these living standards during spells of unemployment or throughout their retirement.

Meanwhile, Statistics SA reported that black Africans account for more than 80 percent of the 55 million population and whites a little over 8 percent.

“We see inequality between population groups but also within population groups,” said Statistician General Pali Lehohla who noted that policy makers should take note of the numbers as they showed what the country is up against.

The SA government under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma has been up against economic inequality in the country . Yet, the struggled to reduce poverty and inequality since the end of white minority rule in 1994, looks more like a mere dream.

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The country’s economy grew strongly in the first years after apartheid, but growth has tapered off in the past five years to below 3 percent, though economist predict a fair weather this year.

This, however, has pushed the country to the brink of credit downgrades that would cause borrowing costs to spiral. Unemployment is at 27 percent, the highest since 2003.