PhD Student The power of perspective: Here's how your salary compares to the rest of SA!
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If you have a salary of R7313 or more per month, then you are in the top 10 percent of South Africa.


South Africa (19 August 2019) – Perspective is everything. And perspective can be incredibly powerful in a country that has been coined as one of the most unequal in the world.

If you think about your household, how rich or poor do you think you are compared to other South Africans? The Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) has developed an income comparison tool to help the country see how income is distributed from the poorest to the richest in South Africa. In four easy clicks, you can find out where you are in South Africa’s income distribution and how you compare to the rest of the population.

And that is where we gain a new perspective.

How rich, poor or middle class do you believe you are? Because the fact is that most people are wrong about where they are located in the income distribution.

This tool was designed to help people understand the nature and extent of South Africa’s inequality, and only by knowing the reality, are we able to work towards changing that statistics!

SALDRU’s director, Prof. Murray Leibbrandt, is the South African Research Chair in Poverty and Inequality Research. The work of this Chair is focused on a sustained programme of research to measure and analyse the unfolding social dynamics within contemporary South Africa with particular attention being devoted to poverty and inequality dynamics.

The income comparison tool allows you to see where your salary and household income fall in correlation to the rest of South Africa.

We’ve listed some of the most sobering stats below:

  • 10% of South Africans have an income of R345 or less per month.
  • If you earn more than R1149 per month, then you earn more than half of the country.  
  • If you have a salary of R7313 or more, then you are in the top 10 percent of South Africa.  
  • If you earn more than R15 000 per month, then you are in the top 3 percent of South Africans!  
  • And if you earn R48 753 or more, then you fall into the 1 percent of “highest earners” in the country. 

SALDRU’s research finds that 50% of South Africans are chronically poor. Only 20% of South Africans belong to the stable middle class, while 4% belong to the elite. The rest belongs to the transient poor (11%) and the vulnerable middle class (15%). The chronically poor and vulnerable poor are predominantly African and to a lesser extent, coloured. The top end of the distribution is disproportionately white.

You can access the income comparison tool by clicking here.

Power of perspective: Here’s how your salary compares to the rest of SA!

Statistics SA released their annual update to the poverty lines in August as well and stated that 60% of South Africans earn less than R1227 per month (which is known as the upper-bound poverty line), and within that category, 26% of South Africans earn less than R560 a month (which is known as the food poverty line).

Imagine living off just R18 a day to feed yourself and your family.

Researchers believe that for a South African to live with a basic level of dignity, they require R7630 a month. That would cover food, electricity, school fees and products to keep yourself clean.

Taking that into consideration would mean that in reality, 90% of South Africans live below the dignity line as only 10% of the country earn more than R7630 per month.

Perspective is everything.

Sources: SALDRU 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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