Black middle class on the rise in South Africa

Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, has highlighted the growth in South Africa’s middle class.

On Sunday, Radebe released the 2014 developmental indicators, showing a strong increase in the number of black top and senior management in South Africa.

“The past decade has seen the rise of the black middle class. There was a significant shift in the country’s living standards measure between 2001 and 2013,’ Radebe said.

“Despite rising average income levels and the rise in the black middle class, levels of inequality have remained high, with the richest 10 percent of households capturing over half of the national income,” he cautioned.

The report indicated that in 2000, the percentage of top and senior managers stood at 12.7% and 18.5% respectively.

Black top management:

2000 – 12.7%
2005 – 27.2%
2010 – 24.1%
2011 – 30.8%
2013 – 33.3%

Black senior management:

2000 – 18.5%
2005 – 23.7%
2010 – 24.1%
2011 – 29.4%
2013 -40.1%

The report noted that for odd years, data is based on large companies only, while for even years, data is based on all companies (large and small).

A United Nations (UN) article put the country’s black middle class at 4.2 million citizens in 2012, just over 50% of people in that group.

The UN’s figures were in accordance with research conducted by the UCT Unilever Insitute of Strategic Marketing which found that the country’s black middle class had more than doubled, from 1.7-million in 2004, to an estimated 4.2-million in 2012.

A study published by Stellenbosch University in October 2013, had previously stated that the black middle class had grown from 350,000 individuals in 1993 to almost 3 million individuals in 2012.

It must be mentioned that all the reports used varying criteria of what it means to be ‘middle class’.

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Black middle class on the rise in South Africa