Is your family poor, middle class or rich? Find out here


The Covid-19 pandemic sent global economies into a spiral, and South Africa has been badly impacted by the lingering lockdown that kept so many out of work for so long.

Right now, many are feeling the pinch, but are you actually that badly off?

You might be surprised to learn where you rank, when compared to other South Africans.

Thanks to the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU), you can find out if your family is now poor, or middle class or even rich.

In 2019 SALDRU created an income calculator tool that reveals how your household income compares to that of the rest of South Africa.

Most people are wrong

SALDRU reports that most people are wrong about where they are located in the income distribution, and that this tool was designed "to help people understand the nature and extent of South Africa’s inequality."

We ran a poll and South Africans were generally surprised at how their income matched up. In fact, 44% of respondents admitted that they are much wealthier then they expected. 

34% said they were poorer than they expected, and 22% estimated correctly. 

SALDRU Income Calculator

Also read: Are you paying your nanny a living wage? Probably not

Chronically poor

SALDRU’s research found that 50% of South Africans are chronically poor. in 2019, only 20% of South Africans belonged to the stable middle class, whilst 4% belonged to the elite.

The rest belonged to the transient poor (11%) and the vulnerable middle class (15%).

The unit, based in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town, has previously produced studies that explain why South Africa remains such an unequal society.

Questions included relate to your monthly household income and the number of people living in your household, as your well-being depends on this.

The calculator then asks "Do you think you are poor, middle class or rich in South Africa?" before providing a graph what might well surprise you.

Here's an example of a result:

income comparison tool

Take the test yourself

Find out where your family ranks by clicking through via the image below: 

income comparison calculator


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