How much money you need to earn to be in the richest 1% in South Africa

Research from international real estate and investment immigration firm Astons reveals how the average salary in South Africa compares to that of the richest 1%.

The group looked at 28 major nations, the top 1% pre-tax income threshold and how this differed to the average national income in each country.

The research shows that the Middle East is the most prestigious place to rank within the top 1% of earners. Qatar is home to the highest requirement, with a required pre-tax earnings of R25.3 million to break into the top 1%.

The UAE (R14.65 million), Saudi Arabia (R10.1 million) and Bahrain (R6.6 million) also rank as some of the nations with the highest wage requirements to break into the top 1% of earners.

Outside of the Middle East, it’s the US that ranks top with a pay packet of R7 million required before tax to be classed within the top 1%.

Germany requires a pre-tax income of R4.1 million, while Turkey requires earnings of R3.9 million, and in the UK you need to earn at least R3.7 million.

In India, a pre-tax income of just R1 million is required to break into the richest group.

Qatar and the UAE are also home to the biggest reality gaps between the top 1% and the average citizen. There is a 1,321% difference between the average wage national income of R1.78 million in Qatar and the top 1% income threshold, while in the UAE this gap is 1,108%.


South Africa ranks third in terms of the size of this reality gap between the average citizen and the top 1% with a 929% difference. To be in the richest 1% in South Africa you would need to earn R2.54 million a year, before tax. This is compared to the average income of R247,000.


Saudi Arabia, Angola, Brazil, Nigeria, Bahrain, Morocco and Turkey also have some of the largest differences between the earnings of the average citizen and the income threshold of the top 1%.

The Netherlands is home to the smallest gap in this respect. The income threshold of the top 1% (R3.4 million) is just 291% higher than the average national income of (R877,000).

“Analysing world nations based on the earning requirement of the top 1% shines a light on just where the most global wealth has been accumulated and it’s clear that the Middle East has become the world leader in this respect,” said managing director of Astons, Arthur Sarkisian.

“The Middle East is also home to a far larger gap between those earnings within the top 1% and the average citizen. The likes of the Netherlands, China and Australia provide a more balanced society in this respect with a far smaller void between the very top earners and the average income available.”

Conversions done at 1 GBP = 20.83 ZAR. Figures have been rounded.

Data source: Astons, World Inequality Database


Read: These are the richest cities in South Africa

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How much money you need to earn to be in the richest 1% in South Africa