Research News South Africa

Demographics of the emerging black middle class in SA

A recent study by the Bureau of Market Research (BMR) at the University of South Africa (Unisa) estimates the size of South Africa's emerging Black middle class (defined as Africans/Blacks aged 16 years and over and within Living Standards Measures 5-7) as 9.3 million in 2007 as against 6.3 million in 2001.

The study conducted by Prof Eric O Udjo (Research Professor of the Demographic Research Division of the BMR) not only computes the size of the emerging Black middle class by province but also investigates the residential profile, status in household, age and sex distribution, marital profile, fertility and mortality as well as well as migration patterns.

Prof Udjo's research estimates that KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga (in this order) accommodate the largest proportions of South Africa's emerging Black middle class. Further interesting findings of the study reveal the following:

  • The growth rate of the population of the emerging Black middle class aged 16 years and over was 6.5% per annum during the period 2001 - 2007.

  • Females contributed about half the population of the emerging Black middle class aged 16 years and over in 2007.

  • An emerging Black middle class female has 2-3 children by the end of her reproductive life.

    The BMR report provides valuable insights into changes in the size and demographic characteristics of the emerging Black middle class.

    From a market research perspective, the report provides insights into the assessment of market potentials for specific products among a specific group in the South African population.

    THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE EMERGING BLACK MIDDLE CLASS IN SOUTH AFRICA (Research Report no 375) was compiled by Prof Eric O Udjo (Research Professor, Bureau of Market Research). The report, consisting of 65 pages, is available from the Bureau of Market Research, PO Box 392, UNISA 0003.

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