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Census 2022: SA’s population surges to 62 million, with women in the majority


South Africa’s population has grown to 62 million, with women outnumbering men in all provinces except Gauteng. The latest Census data also reveals shifts in migration, housing and education.

South Africa’s population has grown to 62 million. File picture: Matthew Jordaan

STATISTICS South Africa has unveiled the Census 2022 data, indicating that the country’s population surpassed 62 million, inclusive of approximately 2.6 million foreigners. This is a significant rise of nearly 10.4 million since the 2011 Census.

Stats South Africa’s 2022 Census results shows there are at least 62,027,503 people in South Africa.

Among them there were 31.9 million women, compared to 30 million men.

The population has seen a steady increase from the 40.5 million in 1996, 44.8 million in 2001, and 51.7 million in 2011. The data further revealed that women constitute 51.5% of the population.

Every province, except for Gauteng, had more women than men. Gauteng, with a population of 15 million, remains the most populous province.

Here, 7.6 million men slightly outnumber the 7.4 million women. This gender disparity in Gauteng is attributed to work-related migration.

Gauteng, KZN, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga lead in net migration. Over 1.3 million people migrated to Gauteng from Limpopo, while another 1.1 million came from abroad. The Eastern Cape saw 1.1 million of its residents move to the Western Cape and just under 500,000 to Gauteng. The report stated that “half of all international migrants (50.2%) resided in Gauteng, followed by about 16% in the Western Cape”.

Regarding racial demographics, black Africans constituted 81.4% of the population, coloureds 8.2%, whites 7.3% and Indians 2.7%.

The Census reported over 2.4 million foreigners, making up about 3% of the total population.

It was clarified that the survey did not distinguish between legal and illegal status. Notably, 1 million foreigners hailed from Zimbabwe, followed by significant numbers from Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, the UK, India and Nigeria.

“Anyone who was within the borders of the country irrespective of their legal status or whether they were documented or undocumented was counted,” StatsSA Census project director Calvin Molongoana said.

In terms of language, isiZulu and isiXhosa were the most spoken at home, with 24.4% and 16.3%, respectively. More residents spoke Afrikaans at home than English.

The two least spoken languages in the country include iSiNdebele and sign language.

Educationally, there was a 3% rise in school attendance for ages five to 24, compared to 2011. However, high drop-out rates were observed in secondary education for black and coloured groups, impacting their progression to tertiary education. In contrast, white and Indian groups were more likely to complete both high school and tertiary education.

A snapshot of education levels:

– 2.5 million with no schooling

– 2.7 million with some primary education

– 1.3 million completed primary education

– 11.8 million with some high school education

– 14.1 million completed high school

– 4.6 million with post-secondary education

Mpumalanga and Limpopo had the highest number of unschooled individuals, while Gauteng and the Western Cape reported the lowest. Gauteng and the Western Cape also led in post-school education completion, with 18% and 16.2%, respectively.

On the housing front, South Africa now boasts 17 million homes, up from 14 million in 2011 and 9 million in 1996. Gauteng and KZN together account for half of the country’s homes.

The Census also noted a decline in shack dwellers and observed that KZN, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo had the most female-headed households, possibly due to male migration for work.

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