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Urbanization in South Africa 2019

In 2019, over 66 percent of South Africa's total population lived in urban areas and cities. Urbanization defines the share of urban population from the total population of a country. Just like urbanization, the population density within the nation has risen, reaching 46 inhabitants per square kilometer, meaning more people are sharing less space. Many opportunities for work and leisure can be found in the urban locations of South Africa, and as such the five largest municipalities each now have over three million residents.

Facing its economic strengths and drawbacks

South Africa is a leading services destination, as it is one of the most industrialized countries in the continent of Africa. The majority of the country’s gross domestic product comes from the services sector, where more than 70 percent of the employed population works. Unemployment is seen as a critical indicator of the state of an economy, and for South Africa, a high rate of over 25 percent could indicate a need for a shift in economic policy. As of 2017, South Africa was one of the twenty countries with the highest rate of unemployment in the world.

South Africa: Urbanization from 2009 to 2019

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Release date

October 2020


South Africa

Survey time period

2009 to 2019

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