Black surpasses white middle class in SA

A new report reveals that South Africa’s black middle class has surpassed the white middle class, due mainly to government’s affirmative action policy.

AFP noted that as many as 370 million Africans, or 34% of 1.1 billion people living on the continent, are now middle class, citing a new report conducted by African Development Bank (AfDB).

A study published by Stellenbosch University in October 2013, had previously revealed that South Africa’s black middle class had grown from 350,000 individuals in 1993 to almost 3 million individuals in 2012.

Using the cut-off of R25,000 per capita income per year (jn 2000 prices), the number of individuals in the middle class in SA had grown to 7.2 million in 2012, with blacks accounting for 41.3%, the study said.

That figure however, conflicted with a report conducted by UCT Unilever Insitute of Strategic Marketing earlier in 2013, which found that South Africa’s black middle class had more than doubled from 1.7-million South Africans in 2004, to 4.2 million in 2012.

AFP reported that by 2060 the middle class segment in Africa should represent 42% of the population.

The report defined the middle class as having a purchasing power parity of between $2.20 and $20  a day.

North Africa, at 77% of its population, has the highest proportion of middle class, followed by the central African region with 36%, with the southern African region, along with west Africa in equal third with approximately 34% of their people classified as middle class.

According to AFP, the consumption and ownership of items including a TV, car and refrigerator, are among the measurements used to define the class. Additional yardsticks included access to electricity, sources of drinking water and types of toilets.

The research was based on 37 African countries, polling up to 800,000 households.

More on South Africa’s demographics

Surge in Africa’s middle class

SA black middle class pegged at 3 million

SA middle class getting poorer

Whites dominate top positions: report

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Black surpasses white middle class in SA