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Thriving vs striving: How SA's black middle class has evolved in the past 15 years

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The black middle class now makes up 7% of South Africa's black African population, excluding Indians, coloureds and African blacks from other countries, shows the latest UCT Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing research.

And at 3.4 million people, they make up almost half of South Africa's total middle-class count of 7 million people. With a combined spending power of R400 billion per year, this group might only make up 1 million of the country's households, but it accounts for 14% of all consumer expenditure in SA.

Since the UCT Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing conducted the first piece of research on the "emerging" black middle class in 1994, it has become much more diverse. Already in 2005, when the Institute did a study focusing on "Black Diamonds", the black middle class was branching out. 

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