Cost of Living in South Africa Half That of US


CAPE TOWN — For citizens living in South Africa, the knowledge that starting in 2018, Vienna will have a direct route, via Austrian Airlines, to Cape Town, means more jobs for them. This is good news, considering the unemployment rate is 20 percent—40 percent for young people.

That is according to Airports Country South Africa, which claims that every long-haul direct flight supports as many as 3,000 jobs.

While the cost of living in South Africa is considerably lower than the United States, poverty is still a problem. Social grants have helped, but President Jacob Zuma said in 2011 that the grants are not sustainable.

An op-ed in The Daily Maverick suggests that tourism can help turn the country around, like it’s doing with Greece. Many people speak of South Africa’s natural beauty in many locations of the country.

Making tourism the main goal of stimulating the economy would be a change from the main industries of South Africa, which is mining, particularly gold, diamonds, coal and copper.

South Africa as a tourism destination could help towards the reduction of poverty, and help women and young people, as well as migrant workers, indigenous people and the rural community.

In a winter 2015 report from Statistics South Africa, it re-evaluated the poverty numbers, using three different examples to evaluate the cost of living in South Africa. The food poverty line, the lower bound poverty line and the upper bound poverty line measure who can buy what, but with certain sacrifice.

The food poverty line is 400 Rands per capita. Upper and lower bound poverty lines are 544 Rands and 753 Rands per capita per month.

People moving there to live or study from wealthier countries would most likely find the money exchange in their favor, as one United States dollar is worth 13.26 South African Rands (ZAR) as of August 2, 2017. Consumer prices are 39 percent lower than in the United States. According to Numbeo, rent and groceries cost 49 percent and 56 percent less than in the United States respectively. However, local purchasing power is 25.77 percent lower than in the United States, even though the cost of living in South Africa is lower overall.

Gloria Diaz

Photo: Flickr


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