South Africa Population 2024 (Live)

61,036,592

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.

Population Rank
Growth Rate
2024 World Percentage
Land Area
1,213,090
The current population of South Africa is 61,036,592 based on projections of the latest United Nations data. The UN estimates the July 1, 2024 population at 61,020,221.

South Africa Growth Rate

South Africa Population Clock

South Africa Population (as of 7/9/2024)61,036,592
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2024)61,020,221
Births per Day3,088
Deaths per Day1,429
Migrations per Day160
Net Change per Day1,819
Population Change Since Jan. 1347,429

Components of Population Change

One birth every 28 seconds
One death every 1 minutes
One immigrant every 9 minutes
Net gain of one person every 47 seconds

South Africa Population Clock

South Africa Population Density Map

City
2024 Population
Cape Town3,433,441
Durban3,120,282
Johannesburg2,026,469
Soweto1,695,047
Pretoria1,619,438
Port Elizabeth967,677
Pietermaritzburg750,845
Benoni605,344
Tembisa511,655
East London478,676

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.

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Year
Population
Growth Rate
Density (/km²)
Population Rank
Density Rank
202461,020,2210.99%5024161
202360,414,4951.05%5024161
202058,801,9271.23%4825161
201958,087,0551.3%4825160
201857,339,6351.23%4725161
201756,641,2090.39%4724163
201555,876,5041.53%4624164
201051,784,9211.1%4324160
200549,017,1470.92%4024159
200046,813,2661.25%3925159
199543,986,0841.98%3625158
199039,877,5703.39%3326160
198533,752,9642.76%2828160
198029,463,5492.71%2428160
197525,777,9642.88%2129160
197022,368,3063.12%1829161
196519,187,1943.04%1630161
196016,520,4412.51%1431165
195514,594,1292.27%1231164

South Africa Population by Year (Historical)

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Year
Population
Growth Rate
Density (/km²)
Population Rank
Density Rank
202461,020,2210.99%5024161
202561,673,0810.96%5124161
203064,659,2780.95%5324162
203567,314,1330.81%5524162
204069,713,9370.7%5726162
204571,816,2010.6%5924161
205073,529,7530.47%6126159
205574,799,0500.34%6228161
206075,663,1980.23%6228161
206576,208,0450.14%6328162
207076,502,1550.08%6328162
207576,579,8820.02%6328161
208076,445,383-0.03%6329160
208576,146,535-0.08%6332161
209075,736,556-0.11%6232161
209575,203,788-0.14%6232160

South Africa Population by Year (Projections)

South Africa Population Pyramid 2024

South Africa Median Age

28

Total

27.9

Male

28.1

Female

South Africa Population by Age

There are people over age 18 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 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 Population Rank 2024
Area (km²)
1,221,037
2024 Growth Rate
Capital
GDP (IMF '23)
$373.23
GDP (UN '22)
$405.27 Bn
  1. Statistics South Africa
  2. World Population Prospects (2022 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.
  3. GeoNames

Sources