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South African Embassy, Berlin
Tiergartenstr. 18, 10785 Berlin
Tel.: +49-30-22073-0
Fax: +49-30-22073-190

The People

For 2021, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) estimated the mid-year population at 60.14 million people. Approximately 51.1% (30.75 million) of the population was female.

Life expectancy at birth for 2021 was estimated at 59.3 years for males and 64.6 years for females.

The infant mortality rate for the year was estimated at 24.1 per 1 000 live births.

The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate was approximately 13.7% among the South African population. The number of people living with HIV was estimated at approximately 8.2 million. For adults aged 15 – 49 years, an estimated 19.5% of the population was HIV positive.

There was a reduction in international migration, an indication of the COVID-19 travel restrictions and their subsequent impact on migratory patterns since March 2020. Migration is an important demographic process, as it shapes the age structure and distribution of the provincial population. For the period 2016 – 2021, Gauteng and the Western Cape were estimated to have experienced the largest inflow of migrants – approximately 1 564 861 and 470 657 respectively. 

Gauteng had the largest share of the South African population, with approximately 15.81 million people (26.3%) living in this province. KwaZulu-Natal had the second-largest population, with an estimated 11.5 million people (19.1%) living in this province. With a population of approximately 1.30 million people (2.2%), the Northern Cape remained the province with the smallest share of the South African population. 

 About 28.3% of the population was aged younger than 15 years (17.04 million) and approximately 9.2% (5.51 million) was 60 years or older. Of those younger than 15 years of age, the majority resided in Gauteng (21.8%) and KwaZulu-Natal (21.2%). 

The proportion of elderly persons aged 60 years and older in South Africa is increasing over time and, as such, policies and programs to care for the needs of this growing population should be prioritised. 

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