A new report by the South African Institute of Race Relations revealed that the country’s white population was declining by about 0.3% every five years.
The decline has been attributed by the institute to lowered fertility rates affecting the middle class across all population groups, as well to continued white emigration.
City Press extrapolated the figures and discovered that, if the current decline trends persisted, white South Africans would be extinct by the year 2161.
Figures contained in the institute’s yearly South Africa Survey showed that South Africa’s white and Indian population were declining, while the country’s coloured and black African population groups were growing.
The study predicted that by 2025, the black African population would have grown by about five million from the current level of 40 million.
Over the same period the white population would have declined by 350 000 to a level of just more than four million.
The Indian population would decline marginally, while the coloured population would grow by just under 600 000.
Frans Cronje, the deputy chief executive of the institute, said there was a “lot of controversy” around the figures, because South Africa’s population statistics may be off by as much as 10 million.
Cronje said the country’s white population was declining because of lowered fertility rates among women that was a “symptom of the middle class”.
It was also exacerbated by the emigration of young, white South Africans from the country.
He said that a strong argument could be made that the decline in the white population had already been much greater than estimated, with young white South Africans emigrating en masse from the country.
Cronje said South Africa’s black population continued to grow, but there was a big problem in the age group between 20 and 30, which had been worst affected by the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Cronje said the growth of the coloured population could be attributed to both natural growth – existing coloured communities having children – and a rise in inter-racial relationships.
He suggested that the rise of the coloured population might mean that in 10 or 15 years’ time, a South African court could be called on to rule on a person’s race in disputes over Black Economic Empowerment legislation.