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Demographics of South Africa - statistics & facts

Around 59.3 million people lived within the borders of South Africa, which ranked the country among the six most populated on the African continent. The largest inhabited provinces were Gauteng (its capital city is Johannesburg) and KwaZulu-Natal (capital city Pietermaritzburg) with roughly 15.4 million and 11.5 million residents respectively. Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg were the cities with the largest communities, with close to 3.4 million, 3.1 million, and two million citizens. Moreover, the majority of the nation's population was Black Africans, while the smallest ethnic group were individuals with Indian or Asian backgrounds.

A constrictive population pyramid

The average life expectancy on the African continent was 66 years for females and 63 years for males in 2021. There were more females in the country than males. As of 2019, the fertility rate in South Africa was 2.38 children per woman, however, this was declining. The infant mortality rate was also dropping, another indicator for improved health care. The leading cause of death in the country was tuberculosis, followed by diabetes mellitus.

Growing number of households

In 2020, the number of households increased, reaching approximately 17.4 million. Almost one in every three households had two to three members. The vast majority of South Africans lived in formal houses, succeeded by individuals living in informal dwellings. As of 2018, the most commonly spoken language inside and outside of the households was isiZulu. Between household members, isiXhosa followed. However, although English was not among the most spoken between members of the same family, it was the second most prevalent language spoken outside of places of residence.

Most income unequal country in the world

Several African countries are known to have significant disparities regarding income distribution. In fact, South Africa had the highest income Gini index in the world at 63 percent. Over the years, this index improved slightly, being more unequal in urban areas than rural ones. It is worth noting that the monthly national food poverty line in the country was 624 South African rands.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Demographics of South Africa".


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