South Africa red list The UK

Photo: AdobeStock

Here’s how many wealthy residents have left South Africa since 2009

South Africa’s wealthy residents have been leaving the country in their droves recently: Many dollar-millionaires have upped sticks and gone elsewhere.

South Africa red list The UK

Photo: AdobeStock

South Africa may be home to some of the wealthiest citizens on the planet, but the number of our residents who are classed as “dollar-millionaires” has hit its lowest point in over ten years.

Why wealthy citizens are leaving South Africa

Data from the New World Wealth Index shows how many residents worth $1 million or over – or R14 million, based on the exchange rate for when this research was carried out – have lived in SA since 2009. After reaching a peak in 2010, it would appear that the number of high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) hit a low point last year.

The weakening rand and fears linked with load shedding are thought to be the most likely drivers of these results. The richest of the rich have taken their chances elsewhere abroad, with more than R1.2 trillion leaving the country over the past two years. As it stands, there are 38 400 HNWI’s in South Africa.

How many dollar-millionaires live in South Africa?

With the value of the rand fluctuating, and wealthy citizens moving in and out of South Africa, calculating the exact figures is no easy task. But the researchers behind this report believe 4 000 SA residents have left Mzansi since 2009, to take their chances in Europe, America or Down Under:

“Based on our estimates, around 4 000 HNWIs have left SA over the past 10 years. Most of these individuals have gone to the UK, Australia and USA. Switzerland and Portugal are also popular destinations.”

“It should be noted that South Africa is by no means alone in losing HNWIs. All of the BRICS countries have lost large numbers of HNWIs to migration over the past 10 to 20 years. This is a trend that is gaining momentum and is a concern to most emerging markets.”

New World Wealth Index

The wealthy and their worth – a ten-year analysis

Here’s how the numbers have chopped and changed in the past decade:

YearTotal wealth of SA’s
Number of HNWIs in SA
2009$677bn / R9.48tr41 000
2010$802bn / R11.23tr48 600
2011$739bn / R10.35tr44 800
2012$795bn / R11.13tr48 200
2013$773bn / R10.82tr46 900
2014$770bn / R10.78tr46 800
2015$633bn / R8.86tr38 500
2016$655bn / R9.17tr40 400
2017$722bn / R10.11tr43 600
2018$649bn / R9.07tr39 200
2019$636bn / R8.9tr38 400