Data shows migration patterns in South Africa – with people flocking to Gauteng and the Western Cape

 ·19 Jul 2021

Statistics South Africa has published its mid-year population estimates for 2021, with approximately 60.14 million people now living in the country.

This is an increase of about 604,281 since mid-year 2020, with more than half of the population living in just three provinces – Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape.

Gauteng remains South Africa’s most populated area with approximately 15.8 million people living in the province.

The country is a demographically youthful population with a median age of 28.

Approximately 51.1% (30.8 million) of the population is female, while black South Africans currently constitute approximately 81% of the total population (48.6 million).

Migration patterns

According to Stats SA’s data, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a less direct impact on South Africa’s population statistics, particularly when looking at migration, as the introduction of lockdown restrictions means that most South Africans have effectively been blocked from leaving the country except under specific circumstances.

“There is a marked reduction in international migration, which is indicative of the Covid-19 travel restrictions globally over the past 16 months,” StatsSA said. “Internal mobility over this period has mostly been temporary, whilst the MYPE requires a more permanent act of migration.”

For the 2016-2020 period, the stats body said that South Africa is expected to see net international migration of 852,992 people into the country, down from 916,346 people in the 2011-2016 period.

Across all provinces, five have seen a net inflow of people moving – including migrants from other provinces as well as international migrants settling. This includes Gauteng, the Western cape, the North West, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.

Gauteng has seen the greatest influx of people since 2016, more than three times the numbers seen in the Western Cape, ranked second. People from all provinces are moving to Gauteng, with more than half the international migrants also making their way there.

This is because of the economic strength of the province and the prospect for job opportunities, which make it an attractive destination, Stats SA said.


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