Gauteng is adding ‘a Soweto every 5 years’ as millions more people migrate

Gauteng is currently grappling with an influx of migration from neighbouring areas which has led to a rapid increase in its population.

The City of Johannesburg’s latest draft Integrated Development Plans (IDP) shows that the province grew by a little over 1.7 million people between 2012 and 2017 – which is the equivalent of adding the population of Soweto every five years.

“Rapid urbanisation, if not accounted for, puts a strain on urban infrastructure and often leads to unplanned expansion, densification and development, like slums or informal settlements within cities,” it said.

Johannesburg and the surroundings are expected to bear the brunt of this migration as more people move to the city in search of jobs, housing, healthcare and education.

“The metropolitan cities in South Africa have been driving the country’s economic activity and employment levels. Moreover, with economic opportunities across the country shrinking, it is likely that more people may migrate to metros looking for work.

“It is expected that as the economic heart of South Africa, Johannesburg will continue to attract people from rural areas – including from elsewhere in Africa. The City needs to be proactive in its preparations for such, especially within the context of low growth and rising unemployment nationally.”

Additionally, it is important to understand that in-migration is also an opportunity, that results in cosmopolitan urban centres, the potential for agglomeration, and cultural and trade linkages furthering our country’s development path, the city said.

What the data says 

The current population of the city of Joburg is estimated to be slightly over six million, making it the biggest metro by population size in South Africa.

Johannesburg’s population constitutes about 40% of the Gauteng population and 10% of South Africa’s overall population. Stats SA projects that by 2026, the population of Johannesburg will grow by 0.7 million people, increasing to 6.72 million

Most people who come to Johannesburg move to the city from other parts of Gauteng (55%). A further 36% are born in South Africa but in another province, and 9% are from another country.

It is estimated that currently, there are 1.97 million households in Johannesburg and that the average household size is 3.2 people per household. However, trends indicate that the average household size in the city is starting to increase.

“The expected growth in the number of households within Joburg in the next five years will require careful planning for housing, social services, and infrastructure,” the city said.

Read: Joburg wants to build its own ‘Eiffel tower’

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Gauteng is adding ‘a Soweto every 5 years’ as millions more people migrate