This one graph shows how the average salary has changed in South Africa over the past 70 years

The World Wealth and Income Database has updated South Africa’s profile, showing how the average salary in the country has changed since 1946, and up to 2016.

The online data sets use national accounts, survey data, fiscal data and wealth rankings, and were created by economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and a team of more than 100 researchers from 70 countries.

A previous update to the data showed that South Africa had one of the highest rates of wealth inequality in the world, where the country’s wealth became more concentrated among the top 1% and 10% of earners over time.

According to the WWID, by 2012, as much as 20% of South Africa’s total wealth was held by 1% of the wealthiest people – while 65% of the country’s wealth was concentrated among the top 10%.

Changing salaries

The latest update to the dataset brings salary changes over the last 70 years to 2016 into focus, as well as the share of GDP among adults.

At 2016 prices, the average South African earned only R108,313 a year, while GDP share is at R126,348.

Salary levels have settled around the same numbers seen in the late 70s and early 80s. South Africa’s peak average was in 1974, where it reached over R122,000 a year – while the country’s GDP share peaked in 1980, when it reached R141,650.

Stats SA pegged South Africa’s average annual income at R138,168 per adult over the same period, though this is the level between male-headed households had an average income of R165,853 per annum and R98,911 for female-headed households.

Jobs data by StatsSA for 2016 showed that average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector was at R17,517 per month – or R210,200 annually.

Trading economics reflected similar numbers, with the 2016 average monthly income at R17,500 per month.


Read: Zuma approves salary hikes for government officials in 2018

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This one graph shows how the average salary has changed in South Africa over the past 70 years