Rich white millionaires are fleeing South Africa

New data from New World Wealth, in association with MasterCard, shows that the number of black millionaires in South Africa has almost tripled in the last 8 years- while white millionaires have dropped significantly.

NWW’s data shows that at the end of 2015, there were 38,500 millionaires in South Africa – down 18% from 46,800 recorded at the end of 2014.

There was a net-gain in millionaires from previously disadvantaged backgrounds of 2,600 HWNIs, while there was a net decrease in white millionaires of 10,900 individuals.

About 45% of all high net worth individuals (HWNIs) in the country are from previously disadvantaged groups (including black, Indian and coloured South Africans), with white South Africans still making up the majority.

The NWW data shows that since 2007, the number of previously disadvantaged millionaires has grown by 179%, increasing from just 6,200 individuals that year, to 17,300 individuals in 2015.

This marks an increase of from 14,700 previously disadvantaged millionaires recorded in 2014 (a gain of 2,600 millionaires).

South African HWNIs – Racial distribution, 2014 – 2015

Racial group HWNIs 2014 HWNIs 2015 Change
White 32 100 21 200 -34%
Previously disadvantaged 14 700 17 300 +18%
Total SA 46 800 38 500 -18%

South African HWNIs – Racial distribution, 2007 – 2015

Racial group HWNIs 2007 HWNIs 2015 Change
White 36 600 21 200 -42%
Previously disadvantaged 6 200 17 300 +179%
Total SA 42 800 38 500 -10%

South African HWNIs – Racial breakdown (%), 2007, 2014, 2015

Racial group % of HWNIs 2007 % of HWNIs 2014 % of HWNIs 2015
White 86% 69% 55%
Previously disadvantaged 14% 31% 45%
Total SA 100% 100% 100%

– HWNIs refer to individuals with a net worth above US$1 million
– Previously disadvantaged individuals include black, Indian, coloured and Chinese South Africans.

On the other end of the scales, white millionaire numbers have decreased in the country, slipping from 36,600 in 2007, to 21,200 in 2015 (a decrease of 42%). Year-on-year, there are 10,900 fewer white millionaires in the country (a drop of 34%).

According to NWW, the reason for the sharp drop in white millionaires is primarily due to emigration. Major reasons for this include: turmoil in home country, security concerns and optimizing education of children.

Between 2000 and 2014, approximately 8,000 HNWIs abandoned the country, New World Wealth said in a report last year. With the latest data, this could mean as many as 19,000 of the country’s wealthiest individuals have bailed on the country in the past 15 years.

“It is likely that the South African government will continue to push Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies until previously disadvantaged groups make up at least 80% of the country’s HWNIs,” the report said.

“We expect this to happen by 2030.”

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