How South Africa’s white population has declined every year over the past decade

Stats SA has released its Stats in Brief report for 2016, which contains data on the country’s shifting demographics over the past 10 years.

South Africa’s population has grown significantly over the past decade, hitting just short of 56 million people in 2016, up from 40.6 million people in 1996.

In that time, every population group has shown an increase in numbers – except for the country’s white population, which has declined.

Previous data released by Stats SA showed that South Africa’s white population has decreased by 1.5% since 2011, representing just over 70,000 people.

The data shows that the country’s white population has declined from 4.59 million in 2011, to 4.52 million in 2016 – a loss of 70,147 people (-1.5%).

By comparison, the black African population has increased by nearly four million over the same period – from 41 million, to 44.9 million people (+9.5%).

The Stats in Brief report breaks down the change in population groups every year over the past 10 years, showing that the annual decline of the white population has increased since 2006, from losing 0.3% of the population between 2005 to 2006, to a decline of 0.45% between 2015 and 2016.

South Africa population growth by race, 2005 – 2016

Year Black African Coloured Indian / Asian White Total
2005 – 2006 1.49% 1.40% 1.52% -0.28% 1.31%
2006 – 2007 1.59% 1.37% 1.52% -0.30% 1.34%
2007 – 2008 1.57% 1.35% 1.52% -0.31% 1.37%
2008 – 2009 1.61% 1.32% 1.52% -0.33% 1.40%
2009 – 2010 1.65% 1.30% 1.52% -0.35% 1.43%
2010 – 2011 1.69% 1.27% 1.52% -0.36% 1.46%
2011 – 2012 1.72% 1.25% 1.52% -0.38% 1.49%
2012 – 2013 1.76% 1.22% 1.52% -0.40% 1.52%
2013 – 2014 1.80% 1.20% 1.52% -0.41% 1.55%
2014 – 2015 1.84% 1.17% 1.52% -0.43% 1.59%
2015 – 2016 1.88% 1.15% 1.52% -0.45% 1.62%

population-growth-rates

Much of this decline is due to emigration.

According to Stats SA, an estimated 95,000 whites have left South Africa since 2011 – though white migration has slowed, the group said in April 2016.

Between 1986 and 2000, 304,112 white South Africans have left the country. Between 2001 and 2005, 133,782 whites emigrated, dropping to 112,046 between 2006 and 2011.

This meant between 2011 and 2015, 16,888 fewer whites left South Africa.

A big portion of the decline is seen among young white people, where Stats SA reported a 4.2% decline in this population group between 2011 and 2016.

According to Stats SA, many young white people who finish matric or university leave South Africa to go study or gain experience abroad.

Read: Here’s what an expert says is causing white South Africans to leave the country

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How South Africa’s white population has declined every year over the past decade