New report reveals the number of dollar millionaires living in South Africa

 ·18 Apr 2020

The number of millionaires living in South Africa continues to decline, the latest South African Wealth Report from New World Wealth and AfrAsia bank shows.

As of December 2019, there are approximately 38,400 dollar millionaires living in the country (those with a net worth of $1 million or more) – down by 800 from the number recorded in 2019.

In New World Wealth’s previous report, there were 39,200 millionaires recorded, which was down significantly – a loss of 4,400 millionaires – from the year before that.

People living in SA together hold $636 billion in wealth. Around $267 billion (42%) of this is held by millionaires (HNWIs). The average SA individual has net assets of approximately $11,000 (wealth per capita).

Included in South Africa’s millionaire figures are:

  • There are 2,030 multi-millionaires living in SA, each with net assets of US$10 million or more.
  • There are 92 centi-millionaires living in SA, each with net assets of US$100 million or more.
  • There are 5 billionaires living in SA, each with net assets of US$1 billion or more.

Thus the trend of loss of wealth in South Africa continues, the group noted, laying the blame at the feet of a weakening residential property market, a lack of new business formation, and flight of wealth through emigration.

This echoes trends seen over the last decade.

“Performance over the past decade has been poor, with total private wealth held in the country declining by 6% from $677 billion in 2009 to $636 billion in 2019. It was up and down during the 10 year period – it reached a high of $802 billion in 2010,” New World Wealth said.

Performance was negatively impacted by:

  • A declining currency – the Rand depreciated from R7.40/US$ at the end of 2009 to R14.00/US$ at the end of 2019.
  • A sluggish local property market – prime residential indices are down significantly when measured in US$ terms.
  • The ongoing migration of wealthy people out of the country (see HNWI migration section).
  • A large number of local businesses closed down during the period, especially in the SME space.

Unfortunately, given the current state of affairs in South Africa and around the world with the coronavirus pandemic, the outlook for wealth creation does not look good, the group said.

“Our wealth forecasts are relatively poor for 2020/2021 due to the expected impact of the coronavirus on stock markets, the Rand, salaries and general business opportunities in SA. All major sectors are expected to be negatively impacted,” NWW said.

Losing wealth

Declines in wealth were seen across almost all of South Africa’s HNWI ‘hotspots’, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, and along the Garden Route.

In Johannesburg, total wealth held declined by $5 billion over the last year, as the city lost 300 HWNIs. Cape Town’s losses were lighter, losing $2 billion in held wealth, and 100 HNWIs.

Other HNWI hotspots saw a boost, however, with Durban and its surrounding areas seeing an increase in held wealth of $2 billion, gaining 100 new HNWIs, while Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch also saw gains and 100 new HNWIs.

The tables below outline the changes by city:

Total wealth held by the super rich in 2019

City Total wealth held Number of $10 million+ Number of $1 million+
Johannesburg $243 billion 850 16 300
Cape Town $131 billion 410 7 000
Durban, Ballito and Umhlanga $56 billion 220 3 400
Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch $48 billion 160 2 900
Pretoria $45 billion 110 2 600
The Garden Route $44 billion 100 2 500
The Whale Coast $21 billion 50 700
The Sunshine Coast $13 billion 40 300
Pietermaritzburg and Natal Midlands $7 billion 20 200
Bloemfontein $3 billion 10 100
Other $25 billion 60 2 400
Total South Africa $636 billion 2 030 38 400

Change in millionaires (2018 to 2019)

City Number of $1 million+ 2018 Number of $1 million+ 2019 Change
Johannesburg 16 600 16 300 -300
Cape Town 7 100 7 000 -100
Durban, Ballito and Umhlanga 3 300 3 400 +100
Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch 2 800 2 900 +100
Pretoria 2 600 2 600
The Garden Route 2 700 2 500 -200
The Whale Coast 800 700 -100
The Sunshine Coast 400 300 -100
Pietermaritzburg and Natal Midlands 200 200
Bloemfontein 100 100
Other 2 600 2 400 -200
Total South Africa 39 200 -800

Read: How the coronavirus crisis has hit South Africa’s richest people

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter