16 avril 2020
Ecrit par WID.world

Wealth distribution in South Africa

How unequal is the wealth distribution in South Africa?

In this paper, Aroop Chatterjee, Léo Czajka and Amory Gethin estimate the distribution of personal wealth in South Africa. They combine tax microdata, household surveys and macroeconomic balance sheets statistics.

Key results

  • The top 10% own 86% of aggregate wealth and the top 0.1% close to one third.
  • The top 0.01 % of the distribution (3,500 individuals) concentrate 15 % of household net worth, more than the bottom 90 % as a whole.
  • Such high levels of inequality can be accounted for in all forms of assets at the top end, including housing, pension funds and other financial assets.
  • The series show no sign of decreasing wealth inequality since apartheid. Since 1993, inequality has remained broadly stable and has even slightly increased within top wealth groups.

You can also access the full set of data on wealth inequality in South Africa

Recommendation to better capture wealth inequality in South Africa

The study documents major inconsistencies in available data sources, in particular regarding the measurement of dividends, corporate assets and wealth held through trusts. The authors stress the need to improve statistical capacities to measure wealth. They also need to access additional dividends tax data, estate duty data and matched individual-trust data.


This figure illustrates the evolution of South African top 1% wealth distribution, 1993-2018