What is South Africa’s Gini coefficient?
The Gini coefficient is a globally used measure of inequality, among individuals or households within an economy. The coefficient ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 represents perfect equality (all individuals have the same income) and 1 indicates perfect inequality (where one person has all the income and the rest have none).
In 2018 the World Bank estimated that South Africa had a consumption expenditure Gini coefficient of 0.63 in 2015, an increase from 0.61 in 1996.
It’s important to distinguish between income inequality and wealth inequality. Income is the flow of money that comes into a household from employers, owning a business, state benefits, rents on properties and so on. Wealth refers to household assets accumulated through people’s savings or generational transfer. In South Africa, wealth inequality is considerably higher than income inequality. In 2018, while the top 10% of the population had a 56% to 58% share of income, they had approximately 95% of all wealth.