South Africa Population 2019

58,665,421

The last national census of the South African population was carried out in 2011.

The findings in 2011 suggest that there had been a significant rise in numbers over the course of the previous ten years and that the South African population had finally hit the 50 million mark, making it the 24th largest country in the world as far as pure numbers are concerned. The estimate is 58.56 million, ranking South Africa 24th in the world.

South Africa Area and Population Density

At the 2001 Census, the final declared total for resident citizens in South Africa was 44,819,778. In terms of population density, that equated to 41.4 people living in every square kilometer of land (107.2 per square mile) and the country’s sparseness was highlighted by the fact that it was only the 169th biggest in the world for density alone.

Largest Cities in South Africa

South Africa is home to many large cities, all of which are known for their beauty and rich cultural diversity. Johannesburg is the largest with a population of 4.4 million, located in the Gauteng Province. Capetown and Ethekwini are a close second and third, with populations of 3.7 million and 3.4 million, respectively. The cities of Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay also have populations exceeding one million.

South Africa Demographics

Turning to demographics, the bureau in charge of providing statistics provided an estimate in 2010, which included five racial groups. Of the total South African population at the time, 79.4 percent declared themselves to be Black African while 9.2 percent were shown as White, 8.8 percent colored and 2.6 percent Indian or Asian. There was a final category shown as unspecified / other but the results were negligible and as such were ultimately omitted.

The country uses 11 official languages, including Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English, Sepedi, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, Swati, Tshivenda, and Ndebele.

South Africa Religion, Economy and Politics

In terms of religions across the population, 81.2% of South Africans identify with a Christian based faith, 3.7% identify with other faiths, and 15% are not affiliated with any faith in particular.

The median age across the population is approximately 27.1 years of age.

Accessible and safe drinking water is a concern for 6.8% of the population, while 93.2% of the entire population have improved access to drinking water. In terms of access to sanitation facilities, the numbers shift quite a bit though. Only 66.4% of the population have access, while 33.6% still struggle with this facet of life.

18.8% of the population is estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS, with approximately 7 million individuals affected.Roughly 94.4% of the population is determined to be literate by age 15 and the country spends about 5.9% of its GDP on education.

South Africa Population History

Humans are thought to have inhabited the land of South Africa for more than 100,000 years, but the population records don't reflect quite that far back. The first inhabitants were the Koisan people and the country was entirely African until Europeans began colonizing throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. The Dutch further colonized the territory during the 1700s.

Voortrekkers settled several Boer regions following the Invasion of the Cape Colony in 1795 and 1806. After the discovery of diamonds in the land in the 19th century, these people fought with the British Empire for the right to control the mines. The British were victorious and South Africa became a self-governing nation under their rule in the early 1900s.

From the years 1948-1994, South Africa was divided because of apartheid laws that segregated the indigenous people from the white minority. These tensions are still easing today.

South Africa Population Growth

The 2011 Census was carried out in October of 2011 and showed that the population had climbed to over 50.5 million people. That represents a rise of nearly six million people over the course of the previous ten years.

So what are the reasons for this increase? The question of immigration raises a contrasting set of views. The South African Migration Project has claimed that the country is more opposed to immigrants than anywhere else in the world. However, in 2008 it was revealed that over 200,000 refugees applied for asylum in South Africa, more than four times the number declared the year before.

Elsewhere, South Africa is also concerned about a skills drain which has seen many professionals, particularly those in the medical sphere, leave the country and seek a career elsewhere.

South Africa Population Projections

Population Growth is expected to continue in South Africa, although at a slower rate than in the past century, with the growth rate going below 1% annually by 2026. By 2020 the population is forecast to be 58,721,229 and 64,465,553 by 2030.

Components of Population Change

One birth every 27 seconds
One death every 57 seconds
One net migrant every 4 minutes
Net gain of one person every 41 seconds

South Africa Population in 2018Source: By Adamina (DSCN0961) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

South Africa Population Pyramid 2019

South Africa Population by Age

There are 38,670,564 adults in South Africa.

Census Years

Year Date
20212021
20117 November 2011
200110 October 2001
199610 October 1996
19917 March 1991
19855 March 1985
South Africa Population Growth

There are no clear indicators to suggest that the population of South Africa won’t continue its growth and by the time the next Census is carried out in 2021, numbers could have reached sixty million.

Official NameRepublic of South Africa
Languages SpokenAfrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude-2924
Currencies UsedSouth Africa Rand
DemonymSouth African
Name Population Location
Cape Town3,433,441Map
Durban3,120,282Map
Johannesburg2,026,469Map
Soweto1,695,047Map
Pretoria1,619,438Map
Port Elizabeth967,677Map
Pietermaritzburg750,845Map
Benoni605,344Map
Tembisa511,655Map
East London478,676Map
Vereeniging474,681Map
Bloemfontein463,064Map
Boksburg445,168Map
Welkom431,944Map
Newcastle404,838Map
Krugersdorp378,821Map
Diepsloot350,000Map
Randburg337,053Map
Botshabelo309,714Map
Brakpan305,692Map

South Africa Population Clock

The population of South Africa (as of 8/20/2019)?58,665,421
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2019)58,558,270
Births Per Day3,231
Deaths Per Day1,510
Net Migrations Per Day 380
Net Change Per Day 2,101
Population Change Since January 1st487,432

South Africa Population Estimator

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Estimate as of August 20th 2019 is: 58,661,067

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
201958,558,27049.28%50.72%47.96241.33%
201857,792,51849.31%50.69%47.33241.37%
201757,009,75649.33%50.67%46.69241.43%
201656,207,64649.35%50.65%46.03241.48%
201555,386,36749.36%50.64%45.36241.58%
201051,216,96449.34%50.66%41.95241.36%
200547,880,60149.30%50.70%39.21261.26%
200044,967,70849.31%50.69%36.83271.65%
199541,435,75849.37%50.63%33.93272.40%
199036,800,50949.69%50.31%30.14282.40%
198532,678,87449.85%50.15%26.76282.73%
198028,556,76949.80%50.20%23.39282.54%
197525,195,18749.83%50.17%20.63292.68%
197022,069,77649.77%50.23%18.07292.63%
196519,384,84149.74%50.26%15.88302.54%
196017,099,84049.86%50.14%14.00312.37%
195515,206,50250.08%49.92%12.45312.22%
195013,628,42850.39%49.61%11.16310.00%
Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
202059,308,69049.26%50.74%48.57250.00%
202562,802,68349.16%50.84%51.43241.15%
203065,956,08149.06%50.94%54.02250.98%
203568,818,98748.96%51.04%56.36240.85%
204071,375,30548.85%51.15%58.45240.73%
204573,619,54348.75%51.25%60.29240.62%
205075,517,92048.63%51.37%61.85250.51%
205577,034,74248.52%51.48%63.09250.40%
206078,172,04848.41%51.59%64.02270.29%
206578,973,28348.31%51.69%64.68270.20%
207079,498,84748.24%51.76%65.11270.13%
207579,817,95548.20%51.80%65.37270.08%
208079,986,09348.16%51.84%65.51290.04%
208580,013,70748.12%51.88%65.53300.01%
209079,887,79048.09%51.91%65.4329-0.03%
209579,604,59848.06%51.94%65.1930-0.07%
  1. Statistics South Africa
  2. World Population Prospects (2019 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.

    Total population: Estimated to be consistent with the 1951, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2011 censuses, adjusted for underenumeration, with official population estimates for 2014, and with estimates of the subsequent trends in fertility, mortality and international migration. The populations of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei are included in the estimates.

  3. GeoNames Gazetteer