Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Debunking the myth of mass white emigration..

S.A.S and the likes will often quote the entirely false figure that as many as 1 million South Africans have emigrated since 1994. From wikipedia :

As of July 2008, there were 5,265,300 Whites and over 1,500,000 White households residing in South Africa. The White population density is 4/km². The density of White households is 1.16/km². Whites make up 11% of the total population.

Since 1994, several hundred thousand white South Africans have emigrated abroad. This figure is often erroneously quoted as being over one million, but in fact the total population of South Africans living outside of the country is less than a half million (this false information is possibly based on the fact that almost one million white South Africans have moved to another country during the period of 1994-2005, but the majority have returned to South Africa and not permanently settled in the foreign country). Similarly, it is often quoted that there are a half a million white South Africans in London, when in fact there are less than 150 000 in the whole of the UK. There are in fact more British Citizens resident in South Africa (212 000, according to the BBC's 2006 report) than there are South Africans in the United Kingdom.

Now given that a worst case scenario of 500 000 white South Africans emigrating would still be a high number (1 in 10?). Let's remember the gross majority of these people left in the 1990's fearing some kind of white genocide (the muppets at S.A.S still go on about it).

Also let's remember that not all these people are whites, or are leaving because they think the country is bad. It's natural for people to seek opportunities and if you're a professional and can make so much more money elsewhere, then why not ? A great proportion of these people intend to return but naturalize with their new countries due to marrying foreign spouses or for visa reasons. Not to mention that South African professional are heavily head hunted (and all credit to them) due to being seen as hard working and enterprising. To put things in context World wide 750 million people migrate every year for various reasons. Why should some small scale migration (and yes , South Africa receives increasingly less people wanting to leave) not be expected in an African country ?

Now of course there is a lot of unnecessary hype about crime and such nonsense that caused a few people to do the "chicken run". A tiny proportion were affected by real crime and certainly we can't fault them for their perceptions and rejection of South Africa against the over hyped sensationalism in the media. I wish them all the best in their new homes.

But I can't help in delight at the type of South African expat who didn't have a legit reason to leave other than having a hair trigger fight or flight reflex. I can see them now in their so called greener pastures dreaming of the good old days in South Africa. Trawling the net trying to assure everyone that the good days are now over and everyone in South Africa is now unhappy. I've got news for you. The good days are still here and better than ever. Our standard of living is extremely high, our economy is booming, crime and aids are on the decrease, our youth are without silly prejudices and we're having a blast. Truly we are having the last laugh.

Silly S.A.S talks about a "mass exodus". So how many South Africans have left the country last year with no intention of returning (of all races)? There are no official stats since 2005. Statistics South Africa stopped collecting specific data on emigration in 2005, so the last statistics available indicated that 642 self-declared emigrants filled in departure forms at the three international airports in 2004. The official stats are extremely low, and the real number of people who emigrated on dual passports or go to work and never return are surely much higher. Some suggest as many as 200 000 South Africans of various races have left the country in the past 3 years, however the great majority historically will return when they realize the grass is not greener , or they have met their savings goals etc. That 200 000 is just an estimate and probably highly inflated. Whatever the case , I really don't know how this can be called "mass exodus". Let's look at Britain for example.

How many British people alone moved to South Africa permanently in 2008 ?

According to wikipedia.

In recent years there have been high numbers of British expats relocating to South Africa. Among the British expat population, South Africa ranks as the 6th most popular destination and is ranked as the top destination amongst British retirees and pensioners.

By 2005, an estimated 212 000 British citizens were residing in South Africa. Since 2003, the numbers of British expats coming to South Africa has risen by 50%. An estimated 20 000 British expats moved to South Africa in 2007. The reasons cited by many expats are South Africa's family values, the weather and a better quality of life.[7]

That's not to mention all the emigrants from other European countries, The States , Australasia etc. In fact one could very easily see from these stats that in fact if anything the White population in South Africa has grown since 1994.

So have some white South Africans emigrated ? Of course. People emigrate and move all the time. Is this evidence to support the fact that South Africa has "gone to hell" ?

Not even close. The emigration figures of White South African are nominal to low. Compare them to Britain...200 000 British people a year emigrate to live in other countries. By that logic the number 1 place white South Africans are emigrating to is more of a "hell" than South Africa.

Mass exodus my ass. There is no validity to the claim that there is mass white South African Emigration. Sadly.


Anonymous said...

The fact or myth that SA is experiencing mass emigration cannot be proved one way or the other since the SA authorities do not have systems in place to monitor this.

According to a report published by the Human Sciences Research Council: -

The loss of our highly skilled citizens to other countries through emigration has been a cause for concern in South Africa for many years. Contrary to popular perception, the brain drain in South Africa started long before the inception of the new government in 1994, and the figures suggest that the flow of professionals from this country continues to increase rapidly. At the same time, the number of highly skilled immigrants into South Africa ? a critical source for the replacement of skills lost through the brain drain ? is on the decrease.

Intuitively, a brain drain has a range of deleterious effects on a country?s economy. Amongst these are an adverse effect on economic growth and a reduction in a nation?s capacity to develop as a 'knowledge society' and therefore compete effectively in the global economy. A brain drain also constitutes a major loss of investment in terms of the education and training of its highly skilled professionals.

The fact of the matter, however, is that we do not have reliable data on the actual extent of emigration from South Africa. The figures reported in the annual migration reports produced by Statistics South Africa have been shown to represent a significant undercount of skilled emigration. Notwithstanding the current problems with the data, which are estimated to represent about only one third of real emigration, the official statistics do indicate some worrying trends.

For instance, over the past thirty years, the vast majority of skilled emigrants have been in the most productive age groups ? 25 to 45 years ? which means that the brain drain largely comprises South Africans who are already trained and established professionals. There has also been a steady increase in the number of professional women leaving South Africa, from about a quarter of all skilled emigrants in the 1970s, to just less than half in the 1990s. No doubt, this trend reflects the changing gender profile in the domestic labour market. The official statistics on emigration from South Africa do not provide a breakdown for the different ethnic groups in South Africa, but a recent survey indicates that white professionals are only slightly more likely to consider emigrating than are black professionals.

Of course, one of the critical questions in terms of the human resource base in South Africa is exactly which skills are we losing? The official statistics indicate that the greatest mobility of highly skilled people, both into and out of South Africa over the past decade or so, was amongst those in education and humanities occupations, followed by engineers and architects, and our top executive and managerial personnel. Emigration amongst those within the natural sciences and medical professions is also on the increase, while there has been a dramatic decline in the number of skilled immigrants in these occupational fields.

Perhaps not surprisingly, skilled South Africans who choose to emigrate head for some of the most advanced industrialised countries in the world ? the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, and more recently, to Australia and New Zealand.

What makes skilled South Africans emigrate? During the apartheid era, political upheavals ? the Soweto uprising in 1976 and the States of Emergency in the late 1980s ? were a major driving force behind the exodus of professionals. More recently, however, research shows that the highly skilled are leaving because of crime, perceptions of a high cost of living and levels of taxation, and the perceived decline in the standard of public services, notably health and education delivery. At the same time, professionals in South Africa are eager to take advantage of the attractive salary packages and career opportunities in the advanced industrialised countries of the world.

In a way, these motivating factors are common sense. What they do not take into account, however, is the increasingly pervasive influence of globalisation on skills migration around the world. In essence, the global village offers an open market for employment and career opportunities to the highly skilled and, in recent times, the term ?brain circulation? has been used to capture the increasing flow of professionals around the world. In fact, the ability of countries like the United States to attract and retain large numbers of highly skilled migrants in the globalised labour market has contributed significantly to these countries? advancement.

The biggest challenges to the South African government are to find ways of keeping skilled South Africans at home ? although this requires a long-term approach to the improvement of safety and security and improved delivery of services ? and to develop policy which attracts the highly skilled from other parts of the world to our shores.

The Rooster said...

Actually recently South Africa has started to increase skilled proffesionals again..the phenomena is known as the "brain gain". But much of what you say is around the right mark. Certainly you offered a balanced overview on the subject. There's a line between "Some people are leaving for their own reasons but there's no crisis" and the S.A.S version : "people are running for their lives" and that's all I wanted to point out.

Anonymous said...

Rooster you are talking shit. Read this article from The Economist.

How many Whites have fled from South Africa?

Some excerpts:

A decade-and-a-half after the end of apartheid, violent crime is pushing more and more whites out of South Africa. Exactly how many are leaving is impossible to say. Few admit that they are quitting for good, and the government does not collect the necessary statistics....

The South African Institute of Race Relations, a think-tank, GUESSES that 800,000 or more whites have emigrated since 1995, out of the 4m-plus who were there when apartheid formally ended the year before. Robert Crawford, a research fellow at King’s College in London, reckons that around 550,000 South Africans live in Britain alone.

The gap they leave behind
On Mr Abedian’s reckoning, about half a million posts are vacant in government service alone because too few South Africans have the skills these jobs demand. Not a single department, he says, has its full complement of professionals. Local municipalities and public hospitals are also desperately short of trained people. Dentists are “as scarce as chicken’s teeth” and young doctors demoralised by the low standards of hospital administration. Last May Azar Jammine, an independent economist, told a Johannesburg conference on the growing skills shortage that more than 25,000 teachers were leaving the profession every year and only 7,000 entering.

The Rooster said...

Oh please .."guesses" and "estimates"....500 000 south african emmigrated to Britain ? With all due respect , Shut the fuck up. There are less than 150 000 and most of those are miserable.

The Rooster said...

You obviously don't live here if you're trying to pass off things like "shortages of dentists" and expect it ro resonant. Liste...we simply don't recognise this mythical South Africa where you can't find dentists or teachers thatyou expats talk about know why ? Because it doesn't exist. Dentists ? Jesus...Too many of the fuckers if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Lies damn lies and statistics.

2 out of 5 white south Africans live abroad, based on my personal survey. Or do they?

Of the 5 sampled only 1 travels on a South African Passport. They others travel on UK, EU, US and NZ passports.

True of the matter is no one can tell you how many South African have left, because the government simply doesn't record this information, and many who have left are proud citizens of the country they reside in.