Statistics South Africa has released its mid-year population estimates report for 2018, with an estimated 57.7 million people living in the country as of 1 July 2018.
While births and deaths are considered the main drivers of population change, migration continues to be a significant player – not only demographically but politically, economically and socially, Stats SA said.
The report found that South Africa is estimated to receive a net immigration of 1.02 million people between 2016 and 2021.
Most of these international migrants settle in Gauteng (47.5%) while the least are found in the Northern Cape province (0.7%).
“Gauteng is considered the economic hub of the country, attracting international migrants as well as domestic migrants from rural provinces such as Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
“The economic strength of Gauteng relates to ‘pull’ factors that influence its attractiveness to migrants. Gauteng receives the highest number of in-migrants for the period 2016 to 2021. Better economic opportunities, jobs, and the promise of a better life are some of the factors that make Gauteng an attractive destination,” it said.
According to the report, the Western Cape is set to receive the second highest number of in-migrants for the period 2016 to 2021.
“In this instance, the ‘push’ factors are what may drive people from the Eastern Cape towards the Western Cape,” said Stats SA.
“Poor economic activity and lack of job opportunities are strong push factors for migration. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2018, the EC had the highest unemployment rate in the country at 35.6%.”
“Movements within and across South Africa’s borders impact not only the population structure of the country and provinces within South Africa, but potentially the economic, political and social composition of a community, province and the country as a whole.”
It added that understanding and planning for current and projected migration patterns in South Africa is imperative for continued growth and development.