Robben Island
  • Robben Island has the highest median income in the City, according to a government study of tax data.
  • It is followed by Rondebosch and Claremont.
  • Cape Town has only the 5th highest median income level in the country, the research shows.
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The City of Cape Town is known to have some of the biggest earners in the country. From the glistening views of Camps Bay to the leafy mansions in Constantia, it would surprise no one to learn that it is one of the cities with the highest median incomes in SA.

But the area in the City with the highest median income is not the City's posh suburbs, its trendy CBD, or its epic Atlantic seaboard homes: it is Robben Island, the former home of Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners.

New research released by National Treasury using tax data from 2013 to 2018 has revealed the state of incomes and job opportunities at a sub-metro level, for the first time.

The data shows that Robben Island has the highest median income of all the areas in the City of Cape Town. This, National Treasury says, is probably due to the low number of overall jobs there and the higher earning capacity of these jobs.

Robben Island is home to between 110 and 150 residents, according to census data and some reports. It's been reported that the inhabitants are mostly Robben Island Museum staff or former Correctional Services officials.

See also | Women earn less than men in SA biggest cities – with one exception

The City Bowl and the Rondebosch/Claremont areas follow closely behind, with high amounts of "relatively skilled/high earning jobs", Treasury says. The lowest median incomes are in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

Median incomes have also changed over time across the City's areas. Between 2013 and 2018, median incomes have increased in Durbanville, Blouberg, and some parts of Rondebosch. There have been "notable" decreases in Milnerton, the Atlantic Seaboard, Atlantis, and parts of the Cape Flats. Treasury said this could be due to changes in median income per industry and how this has changed over time.

However, despite Cape Town's wealth, it has only the 5th highest median income in the country. The reason? In a nutshell: inequality. Treasury says this is because although it has a high number of high income earners, it also has a high number of low income earners.

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