Cape Town Population 2017

Cape Town is part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality, with a metropolitan population of 3.74 million people and a population density of 1,530 people per square kilometer.

Cape Town has many notable neighborhoods. The Atlantic Seaboard to the west of Cape Town, for example, has some of the most expensive real estate in the country and the highest concentration of multimillionaires in the city. The Northern Suburbs are comprised mostly of Afrikaans-speaking people while the Southern Suburbs are mostly English-speaking people. The Cape Flats to the southeast of the central business district is often called "Apartheid's dumping ground" as it became home to people the apartheid government considered non-white.

Cape Town Demographics

Cape Town is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and is a major destination for expatriates and immigrants.

The ethnic and racial composition of Cape Town is:

  • 42.4% "Coloured"
  • 38.6% "Black African"
  • 15.7% "White"
  • 1.4% "Asian or Indian"
  • 1.9% other

Apartheid in South Africa is still felt in Cape Town. The Apartheid system in the city designated the African population based on tribe, allocating every person to one of nine tribes. The racial category of "coloured" is very contentious in the country and it is often a way to lump together the rest of the population that does not fit into one of the nine tribes or identities. The coloured population is mostly concentrated in the Western Cape and many are descended from slaves brought to work on farms in the area during the 17th century.

Cape Town Population Growth

Cape Town grew 2.6% from 2001 to 2011, reaching a metro population of 3.75 million. In 2013, the Western Cape was one of 4 provinces in South Africa that showed significant growth, with the Western Cape's population growing by nearly 1.5 million people over twelve years. The province's share of South Africa's population increased from 10.1% to 11.4% over this time.

Cape Town and the Western Cape are attracting many migrants, largely due to the area being an employment hub. Unfortunately, Cape Town cannot keep up with the pace of migration for long as it puts a great deal of pressure on the city and businesses which provide jobs.

The 2011 census also found that the share of coloured people in the Western Cape fell from 54% in 2001 to 49.6% in 2011 while the white population dropped from 18.4% to 16%. The black population increased from 26.7% to 33.4% while the Indian population grew slightly to 1.1%.

Cape Town Population in 2017Source:

Damien du Toit

Cape Town Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
20304,322,0005.60%231,000
20254,091,0006.00%231,000
20203,860,0003.30%124,000
20173,736,0002.10%76,000
20153,660,0009.40%315,000
20103,345,00010.50%319,000
20053,026,00011.50%311,000
20002,715,00013.40%321,000
19952,394,00011.10%239,000
19902,155,00011.90%230,000
19851,925,00019.60%316,000
19801,609,00020.20%270,000
19751,339,00020.20%225,000
19701,114,00017.90%169,000
1965945,00017.70%142,000
1960803,00013.90%98,000
1955705,00014.10%87,000
1950618,0000.00%0
Cape Town Population Growth

Cape Town's 2017 population is now estimated at 3,736,000. In 1950, the population of Cape Town was 618,000. Cape Town has grown by 76,000 in the last year, which represents a 2.10% change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Cape Town, which typically includes Cape Town's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Data Sources
  1. Statistics South Africa - City of Cape Town data and statistics
  2. Western Cape Government - Regional development profile of the city of Cape Town