The Household Wealth Research Division of the Bureau of Market Research (BMR) (Pty) Ltd released a report on personal income estimates for South Africa of greatest likelihood for the period 2018 to 2022 and a forecast for 2023 outcomes. The BMR income and expenditure model was used to obtain the estimates provided in this report. Population and parameter weights were used to ensure the overall accuracy (validity) of the income estimates of the model.

Total income is estimated to have increased from R5.19 trillion in 2021 to R5.64 trillion in 2022. This reflects an annual increase of 8.7%. The main source of growth originated from investment incomes (recording an annual increase of 30.5%), while the growth in the other sources of income remained relatively muted at close to 5%. Cash flow income also increased by a slightly lower annual rate of 8.5%, increasing from R4.57 trillion in 2021 to R4.96 trillion in 2022. The income estimates imply an estimated annual cash flow income of R113 151 per capita (per person) for the adult population (15+ years) in 2022.

It was estimated that over a quarter (28.1%) of the adult population reside in Gauteng, the economic hub of the country, earning 34.5% of cash flow income, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (18.6%, earning 12.3% of cash flow income) and the Western Cape (12.6%, earning 26.1% of cash flow income) in 2022. More than two-thirds (64.0%) of the cash flow income were generated by nearly a third (29.9%) of the adult population earning salaries and wages as their main source of cash flow income. A positive correlation between educational qualifications and income earning potential and economic empowerment was evident from the analysis as a significant proportion of 48.8% of the cash flow income was generated by a mere 12.9% of the adult population that is estimated to have a tertiary level education.

The analysis reiterated the existence of income inequality in South Africa as 73.7% of the adult population earns below R73 351 per annum (or less than approximately R6 110 per month), accounting for 10.0% of cash flow income. On the other side of the income scale, only 3.3% of the adult population earns more than R625 992 per annum (approximately R52 170 per month), but they earn 44.8% of cash flow income. Additionally, the results showed that 23.0% of the adult population relies mainly on grants as cash flow income source, while 32.1% of the adult population is estimated to not receive any form of cash flow income, thereby depending on in-kind transfers and support from friends and relatives.

Despite the almost equal gender population distribution between the females and males, females remain at the lower end in relation to the cash flow income earnings. It is estimated that less than half (47.3%) of the adult population are male but earn 58.5% of the cash flow income in the country.

Economic and financial conditions are expected to remain volatile for the foreseeable future due to significant pressures on local economic growth, employment creation, and various other downside risks such as loadshedding, rising interest rates, sticky inflation and a weaker exchange rate. The positive trend in total and cash flow income is expected to continue in 2023. An estimated nominal growth rate of 7.2% in total income is expected for 2023, translating to an expected level of R6.0 trillion, while a similar nominal growth rate is expected for cash flow income, increasing to R5.3 trillion. The magnitude of the improvement in personal incomes is expected to be greater for those individuals with investments, including income from dividends, interest, rent, pensions and annuities.

PERSONAL INCOME ESTIMATES FOR SOUTH AFRICA, 2018 – 2023 (Research Report No 529) was compiled by Ms J Meiring (BMR Senior Researcher), Prof CJ van Aardt (BMR Research Director) and Mr A Risenga (BMR Senior Researcher).

Mrs M Goetz
Research Administration Manager



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