Black vs white millionaires in South Africa

 ·20 Apr 2016

New data published by advisory firm, New World Wealth, shows how the racial composition of South African millionaires has changed over the past eight years.

NWW defines ‘millionaires’ or ‘high net worth individuals’ (HNWIs) as those people with net assets of US$1 million (R14.5 million) or more.

The advisory firm said that racial wealth breakdowns are an important issue in South Africa – ‘many feel that the speed of wealth transfer to previously disadvantaged groups has been too slow’.

It noted that ‘previously disadvantaged groups’ include Black Africans, Coloreds, Indians and Chinese Asians (i.e. anyone that was restricted from voting prior to 1994).

According to the research there are currently around 17,300 South African millionaires from previously disadvantaged groups, which equates to 45% of South Africa’s total millionaire population.

This number has risen sharply, from 6,200 in 2007, NWW reported.

South African dollar millionaires – racial distribution, 2014 – 2015

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

In July 2015, data from Stats SA put South Africa’s population at just over 54 million.

South African population by sex and race

South African population by sex and race

Strong prospects for growth

South Africa is the wealthiest country in Africa with almost twice as many millionaires as any other African country, NWW stats show.

It said that South Africa has strong fundamentals for wealth growth including:

  • A well-developed stock exchange and financial services system.
  • A large free media which helps disseminate reliable information to investors.
  • Secure ownership rights, which encourages people to invest in property and businesses in the country.

The report said that a large number of millionaires from other African countries have moved to South Africa recently – ‘we estimate that over 1,500 African millionaires have moved to South Africa since 2007’.

Most wealthy Africans have come from Nigeria, Angola and Ghana.

“Many African millionaires have also bought second residences in South Africa, which they use for business and holiday purpose,” New World Wealth said.

Things that are attracting them to SA include:

  • Top class private schools for their children.
  • Luxury residential estates.
  • Nature, weather and scenery.
  • One of the best private healthcare system in the world.
  • Exclusive shopping centers (examples: Sandton City, Gateway, Montecasino, V&A, Hyde Park and Cavendish).
  • English speaking country.
  • There is very little religious violence (when compared to countries like Nigeria).
  • Good transport infrastructure.

“We expect over 10,000 African millionaires to move to SA over the next decade, significantly boosting millionaire numbers and luxury spending in SA,” NWW said.

More on wealth in South Africa

Rich white millionaires are fleeing South Africa

5 ultra-rich black South Africans

Most whites in SA still earn 6 times more than blacks

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