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#5facts: SA’s top 2017 numbers

This article is more than 6 years old

As 2017 comes to a close, we looked back at our top 5 numbers for South Africa in 2017.

How high is the country’s murder rate? Do women and men earn the same? How many social grants does the government pay? What share of adults are overweight and obese? And how many migrants call South Africa home? We’ve pulled together the answers here.

  1. South Africa's latest murder rate is 34.1 per 100,000

The latest crime statistics from the South African Police Service show that South Africa’s murder rate increased for a fifth year in a row.

Ten years ago the murder rate stood at 37.6 murders per 100,000 people. It decreased year-on-year to 30.1 murders per 100,000 people in 2011/12. Since then the murder rate has been increasing.

In 2016/17, a total of 19,016 murders were committed - an average of 52 each day. This resulted in a murder rate of 34.1 per 100,000.

The province with the highest murder rate was the Eastern Cape. The province with the lowest murder rate was Limpopo.

READ: South Africa’s crime statistics for 2016/17

2. South African women earn less than men

In September this year, car manufacturer Hyundai South Africa tweeted that “women earn 27% less than men.” Based on this disparity, they offered 100 South African women a R27,000 discount on a new car.

The statistic was from the 2017 Pulse of the People report run by market research firm Ipsos.

This was in line with the latest “median income” figures from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). The “median income” is the value where half of people’s income falls above it and the other half below.

Stats SA estimated that men earned a median income of R3,500 per month while women earned R2,700 per month in 2015. Based on this data, women earned 23% less than men at a national level.

Median incomes varied widely by races and sex in South Africa. White men earn the most (R13,100) and black women earn the least (R2,500).

READ: Do South African women earn 27% less than men?

3. Over 17 million social grants paid

The latest data from the South African Social Security Agency shows that 17.4 grants were being paid at the end of October 2017.

This does not mean that 17.4 million people were receiving grants, however, as a person may be paid more than one grant.

For example, one adult recipient may receive 3 child support grants. Some recipients of the grant for older persons, disability grant or war veterans grant may receive additional grant-in-aid if they require full-time care because of physical or mental disability.

Child grants make up 70% of all government grants. A child grant provides R380 per month to the main caregiver of a child 18 or younger. The applicant must earn less than R45,600 (if single) or R91,200 (combined income if married) per year.

READ: SA pays out 17.2 million social welfare grants to 10.6 million beneficiaries

4. 53.8% of South Africans are overweight or obese

It is often claimed that South Africa is the third most obese country in the world after the United States of America and Mexico. The data - thankfully - doesn’t back up this claim.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) uses the Body Mass Index (BMI) to measure overweight and obesity. It takes into account how much someone weighs in relation to their height. When the BMI is greater than or equal to 25, an adult is classified as overweight and when the BMI reaches 30 or more, as obese.

Based on WHO data, South Africa ranked 30th out of 191 countries with 28.3% of its adults considered obese in 2016.

When people that are considered overweight are included, the share rises to 53.8% of adults. However, in this case, the country’s global ranking drops to 103rd place.

READ: No, SA does not weigh in as the world's 3rd most obese nation

5. Official data show less than 3.2 million migrants

How many migrants live in South Africa? A number of unsupported and bogus numbers have been shared in 2017.

The founder of a new political party pegged the number at “more than 13 million”. The Malawian high commissioner to South Africa told a current affairs show that there were 6 million Malawians living in the country. And the Nigerian Union of South Africa claimed that 800,000 of its countrymen and women called South Africa home.

Migration is a tricky thing to measure, experts caution. However, the best available data doesn’t come close to the numbers mentioned.

South Africa’s 2016 Community Survey estimated that there were 1.6 million migrants in the country. The United Nations released a higher figure of 3.1 million for 2015. (Note: South Africa’s statistics agency is investigating why the community survey estimate was so low.)

READ: Claim that 13 million international migrants live in SA wildly incorrect

Edited by Anim van Wyk


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