Half of middleclass South Africans are a paycheque away from poverty

Only about 45% of South Africans are “not poor”.

Of those who aren’t poor, only about half belong to the “stable middleclass”; meaning they are free from poverty now and, probably, in the future.

The susceptibility of the “vulnerable middleclass” to fall back into poverty is due to job insecurity.

In other words, should they lose employment - they’re a paycheque away from poverty.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Professor Murray Leibbrandt of the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town.

Leibbrandt discussed a new paper that tries to bridge the gap between middleclass and poverty dynamics research.

The paper concluded that, for a stable middle class, the stability and quality of employment are essential.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for quotes from it).

We’ve lacked a clear definition of what it means to be middleclass…

Professor Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town

The middleclass has to be a stable, forward-looking class… you can invest in your children’s education… you can get a bond on your house… if you adopt such a definition… only about 20% of South Africans… are in the stable middleclass.

Professor Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town

For many South Africans, life is quite precarious… If employment is vulnerable; it’s not a stabiliser, and you’re vulnerable to fall back below the poverty line…

Professor Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town

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This article first appeared on 702 : Half of middleclass South Africans are a paycheque away from poverty


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