A new study presented at the University of Cape Town on 4 March, 2020 has revealed that 15% of South Africa’s wealth is in the hands of 0.01% of the population which amounts to 3 500 people.
The paper by Aroop Chatterjee, Léo Czajka, and Amory Gethin confirmed the extreme inequality that exists in South Africa.
Aroop Chatterjee, Léo Czajka, and Amory Gethin presented their paper, measuring the distribution of household wealth in South Africa, which highlighted that there has been no decrease in wealth inequality in the 26 years since democracy.
Their preliminary findings show a steep pyramid of wealth:
The top 10% (3.5 million people) control 86% of all wealth
The top 1% (350,000 people) control 55% of all wealth
The top 0.1% (35,000 people) control 29% of all wealth
The top 0.01% (3,540 people) control 15% of all wealth
The bottom 90% (31,8 million people) control 14% of all wealth
By contrast, due to their debt, the bottom 50%, or 17.7 million people, have an average negative net wealth of -R16,000.
This makes South Africa one of the most unequal countries in the world in terms of wealth, rather than income.
Chatterjee is at Wits University’s Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, Czajka is at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and Amory Gethin is at the World Inequality Lab based at the Paris School of Economics.
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