Cape Town Population 2021

4,709,990
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Cape Town's 2021 population is now estimated at 4,709,990. In 1950, the population of Cape Town was 618,051. Cape Town has grown by 92,430 since 2015, which represents a 2.00% annual 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.

Cape Town is the second most populous city in South Africa behind Johannesburg, and it is the provincial capital of the Western Cape. Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town is famous around the world for its beautiful harbor and is considered one of the best places in the world to visit.

Censuses

The most recent census in South Africa was completed in 2011. At this point, the population of Cape Town was counted as 3,740,026, with a growth rate of 2.57% over ten years. If this growth rate is sustained, it will put the 2018 population of Cape Town at somewhere around 3.81 million, which is a bit higher than the UN estimates.

City Size and Population Density

Cape Town is part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality, approximately 400 square kilometers in area with 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 significant 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 " colored" 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 colored 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.

The 2011 census also found that the share of colored 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 Growth

Cape Town was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 as a stopping point for ships traveling to the Dutch East Indies. The city grew relatively slowly until the 20th century, reaching a population of 171,000 in 1901. Since then it has increased by a consistent 2-3% annually to reach its current population of nearly 4 million.

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, primarily 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.

Cape Town Population 2021

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
20355,845,2991.28%73,766
20345,771,5331.31%74,657
20335,696,8761.34%75,528
20325,621,3481.38%76,370
20315,544,9781.41%77,283
20305,467,6951.45%78,210
20295,389,4851.49%79,271
20285,310,2141.54%80,563
20275,229,6511.60%82,152
20265,147,4991.66%83,916
20255,063,5831.72%85,750
20244,977,8331.79%87,553
20234,890,2801.86%89,326
20224,800,9541.93%90,964
20214,709,9902.00%92,430
20204,617,5602.07%93,449
20194,524,1112.12%93,744
20184,430,3672.61%112,862
20174,317,5052.61%109,986
20164,207,5192.61%107,185
20154,100,3342.61%104,454
20143,995,8802.61%101,793
20133,894,0872.61%99,200
20123,794,8872.61%96,673
20113,698,2142.61%94,082
20103,604,1322.61%91,689
20093,512,4432.61%89,234
20083,423,2092.61%87,205
20073,336,0042.61%84,868
20063,251,1362.61%82,708
20053,168,4282.61%80,495
20043,087,9332.61%78,663
20033,009,2702.61%76,556
20022,932,7142.61%74,711
20012,858,0032.62%72,971
20002,785,0322.63%71,301
19992,713,7312.62%69,382
19982,644,3492.62%67,608
19972,576,7412.62%65,756
19962,510,9852.62%64,170
19952,446,8152.62%62,444
19942,384,3712.62%60,851
19932,323,5202.62%59,217
19922,264,3032.62%57,865
19912,206,4382.39%51,422
19902,155,0162.28%47,996
19892,107,0202.27%46,863
19882,060,1572.28%45,946
19872,014,2112.28%44,860
19861,969,3512.28%43,860
19851,925,4913.26%60,874
19841,864,6173.75%67,438
19831,797,1793.75%64,912
19821,732,2673.75%62,567
19811,669,7003.74%60,226
19801,609,4743.75%58,210
19791,551,2643.75%56,030
19781,495,2343.75%54,006
19771,441,2283.74%51,984
19761,389,2443.75%50,246
19751,338,9983.75%48,362
19741,290,6363.75%46,616
19731,244,0203.74%44,872
19721,199,1483.75%43,370
19711,155,7783.75%41,745
19701,114,0333.39%36,569
19691,077,4643.33%34,676
19681,042,7883.33%33,652
19671,009,1363.33%32,522
1966976,6143.33%31,474
1965945,1403.33%30,418
1964914,7223.33%29,519
1963885,2033.33%28,527
1962856,6763.33%27,609
1961829,0673.20%25,721
1960803,3462.66%20,816
1959782,5302.66%20,250
1958762,2802.66%19,726
1957742,5542.65%19,189
1956723,3652.66%18,744
1955704,6212.66%18,233
1954686,3882.66%17,762
1953668,6262.65%17,279
1952651,3472.66%16,878
1951634,4692.66%16,418
1950618,0510.00%

Cape Town Population Data (Urban Area)

Name Population 2021 Growth
Johannesburg5,926,6682.49%
Cape Town4,709,9902.00%
Ekurhuleni3,969,9371.94%
Durban3,176,2540.57%
Pretoria2,655,2823.49%
Port Elizabeth1,266,5331.02%
West Rand909,3011.30%
Soshanguve866,0051.48%
Vereeniging779,5300.71%
Buffalo City717,0671.20%
Bloemfontein577,5601.86%
Pietermaritzburg532,7661.11%
Rustenburg532,7114.58%
Witbank470,2493.51%
Polokwane444,8594.52%

Urban Areas in South Africa

  1. Statistics South Africa - City of Cape Town data and statistics
  2. Western Cape Government - Regional development profile of the city of Cape Town
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations

Sources