South Africa Population 2023 (Live)


Based on current projections, South Africa’s population will continue to grow until 2082, reaching just over 80 million people before plateauing and slightly declining the rest of the century. South Africa’s population growth rate is currently 1.28% per year.

South Africa’s birth rate is 19.995 births per 1,000 people and its death rate is 9.3 deaths per 1,000 people. The birth rate is more than double the death rate in South Africa. Additionally, the fertility rate is 2.372 births per woman, well above the population replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. While the birth and fertility rates are both high, they have each decreased annually, indicating the slowing of South Africa’s population growth.

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.

The current population of South Africa is 60,383,042 based on projections of the latest United Nations data. The UN estimates the July 1, 2023 population at 60,414,495.

South Africa Growth Rate

South Africa Population 2023 (Live)

South Africa Population Clock

South Africa Population (as of 6/9/2023)60,383,042
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2023)60,414,495
Births per Day3,123
Deaths per Day1,786
Migrations per Day160
Net Change per Day1,498
Population Change Since Jan. 1239,680

Components of Population Change

One birth every 28 seconds
One death every 48 seconds
One immigrant every 9 minutes
Net gain of one person every 58 seconds

South Africa Population Clock

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 Population Density Map


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South Africa Population by Year (Historical)


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South Africa Population by Year (Projections)

South Africa Population Pyramid 2023

South Africa Median Age







South Africa Population by Age

There are people over age 18 in South Africa.

Census Years

South Africa Population Pyramid

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

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 - General Info

  1. Statistics South Africa
  2. World Population Prospects (2022 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.
  3. GeoNames