South Africa is young and female – Stats SA report

South Africa is young and female.

That's according to Statistics South Africa's (Stats SA) mid-year population estimate report, released on Monday.

There are 57.7 million people in South Africa – up from 56.5 million people in 2017 – and more than half of the population (51%) is female. Coupled with this, the report states that women live, on average, six years longer than men, with a life expectancy of 67.3 years compared to 61.1 years for males.

Gauteng remains the country's most populous province, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

The mid-year estimates as at July 1, 2018, are:

Population breakdown by number and province:

Mid-year population estimates for South Africa by province, 2018 (Graph: Stats SA) 


According to the report, the Black African population is at 46 682 900 (80.9%), of which 22 786 200 are male, and 23 896 700 are female. The Coloured population is at 5 074 300 (8.8%), of which 2 459 500 are male and 2 614 800 are female. The Indian/Asian populations are 1 448 300 (2.5%), of which the males constitute 740 200, while females are at 708 100. The White population is at 4 520 100 (7.8%) – male 2 194 200; female 2 325 900. 

In terms of provinces, Gauteng has 14.69 million people, KwaZulu-Natal 11.40 million, the Western Cape 6.62 million, the Eastern Cape 6.53 million, Limpopo 5.80 million, Mpumalanga 4.52 million, North West four million, Free State 2.96 million and Northern Cape 1.23 million.

South Africa by age group

 Population growth rates by selected age groups over time, 2002–2018. (Graph: Stats SA)

Young people between the ages of 15 to 34 years old make up 20.6 million people – 35.7% of the total population.

Those aged 65 and above comprise 5.6% of the total population at 3.2 million individuals, the Stats SA report said.

Life expectancy and where you'll live longest 

The average life expectancy for women is highest in the Western Cape at 72, and lowest in the Free State at 62. Similarly, for men, it is also at its highest, at 66, in the Western Cape and at its lowest in the Free State at 55.

The life expectancy is calculated with the absence of HIV/Aids.

HIV/Aids-related deaths has seen some decline

HIV prevalence by selected age groups, 2002–2018 (Graph: Stats SA)

The estimated number of people living with HIV is 7.52 million, compared with 4.2 million in 2002.

The HIV prevalence rate is estimated to be 13.1% of the population, with the number of Aids-related deaths declining consistently since 2007 from 276 921 to 115 167 in 2018. 

READ: 81% of households that use public healthcare 'satisfied' - Stats SA

There has been a decline in the prevalence of HIV/Aids in young people aged between 15 to 24 from 6.7% in 2002 to 5.5% in 2018. However, between 2002 and 2018, the prevalence of HIV in women aged between 15 to 49 has risen from 17.4% to 22.3%.

The overall figure for HIV/Aids prevalence in the 15 to 49 age range rose from 15.2% to 19%.

Declining fertility

The total fertility rate declined from 2.68 children per woman in 2009 to 2.40 in 2018.

The infant mortality rate was estimated to be 36.4 per 1 000 live births and the under-five mortality rate declined from 80.1 child deaths per 1 000 live births to 45 child deaths per 1 000 live births between 2002 and 2018.

The death rate has declined from 12.6 deaths per 1 000 people in 2002 to 9.1 deaths per 1 000 people in 2018.


Stats SA said these estimates were produced using the "cohort-component method" for population estimation. In this method, a base population is estimated that is consistent with known demographic characteristics of the country.

For the 2018 mid-year estimates, the cohort-component method is used within the Spectrum policy modelling system – a Windows-based system of integrated policy models. 

The estimate of the population includes South Africans and non-South Africans.

The next census is in 2021. The last census was carried out in 2011. 

Read the full report below:



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