South Africans now in poorest 40% of the world — and it’s getting worse

Compared to the world average, South African’s GDP per capita plummeted in 2019 and 2020, and its citizens are now in the poorest 40% of the world.

Economist Mike Schussler said that between 2019 and 2020, South Africa’s relative GDP per capita, when compared to the world average, dropped by the biggest margin since 1994.

“South Africans now have just under 71% of the income that average person living in the world,” Schussler said.

He said South Africans are now firmly in the poorest half of world’s the GDP per capita ranking – 107th out of 191 countries.

“We are firmly on the way to the bottom third. Just another sad story,” said Schussler.

Unless there are significant changes in the local economy, the situation will get much worse.

“If we do the same we did in the last 30 years, South Africa will not be inside the top 125 countries on the planet.”

“South Africans are now in the poorest 40% of the world population. By 2040 we may be in the poorest 20%.”

Even if South Africa’s economy starts to show strong growth, it will take decades to get back to the world average.

The world population currently grows at about 1%, while South Africa’s population grows at around 1.5%.

If the South African economy grows by 6% and the world continues to grow by 4%, it will take South Africa 25 years to catch up to the world average.

The chart below, courtesy of Economist.co.za and the World Bank, shows South Africa’s income per capita as a percentage of the world’s per capita income.

South Africa income

Now read: E-rand for South Africa

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South Africans now in poorest 40% of the world — and it’s getting worse