South Africa’s population now stands at just over 54 million. This is the main finding of Stats SA’s latest Mid-year Population Estimates report, which was released on Thursday. Based on the 2014 series, the country’s population experienced an estimated net increase of 844 000 individuals (1,58% growth) from July 2013 to July 2014. Gauteng remains the most populous province, with almost 13 million inhabitants, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with a population of almost 10,7 million. These two provinces account for about 44% of the population in the country. The Northern Cape remains the least populated province, with just under 1,2 million people.
According to the report, life expectancy at birth stands at 61 years, having increased from an estimated 52 years in 2005. The rise in life expectancy can be attributed to two important trends: first, the number of AIDS related deaths is estimated to have decreased from 363 910 deaths in 2005 (51% of all deaths) to 171 733 deaths in 2014 (31% of all deaths). This can be associated with the increased rollout of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Second, the infant mortality rate (IMR) has fallen from an estimated 58 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 34 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2014. The decline in IMR points to an improvement in the general health & living standards of the population.
The overall number of deaths in the country has been decreasing, from an estimated 716 083 deaths in 2005 (15 deaths per 1 000 people), to an estimated 551 289 deaths occurring in 2014 (10 deaths per 1 000 people). Also, the crude birth rate (CBR) for the country has decreased, from 24 births per 1 000 people in 2002 to 22 births per 1 000 people. As the population transitions from high to low birth and death rates the age structure of the population in South Africa has changed, contributing to a demographic dividend of young people relative to those of working age. Simultaneously, with a rise in life expectancy and a decline in the CBR, the proportion of elderly is increasing in South Africa. These demographic indicators bring to the fore the current agenda focusing on harnessing and benefitting from a potential demographic dividend and setting national priorities in catering for the growing proportion of elderly persons in South Africa.
For more detailed information please download the full report here.