SA population estimated at 55.91 million

Pretoria - South Africa’s population is estimated at 55.91 million, Statistician General Pali Lehohla said on Thursday.

Releasing the results of the 2016 Mid-year Population Estimates at a media briefing in Pretoria, Lehohla said South Africa’s population grew by 1.62% between 2015 and 2016.

According to the report, the black African population is in the majority with 45.11 million people and constitutes approximately 81% of the total South African population. The white population is estimated at 4.52 million, while the coloured population is estimated 4.9 million with the Indian/Asian population at 1.39 million.

Gauteng has the largest share of the population with approximately 13.5 million people living in the province, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 11.1 million people.

The Northern Cape remained as the province with the smallest share of the South African population, with approximately 1.17 million people living in that province.

The report found that 51% (28.53 million) of South Africa’s population is female.

Estimates by age

The report shows that 30.1% of the population is under the age of 15 years, with approximately 8% (4.42 million) being 60 years or older. KwaZulu-Natal, at 3.86 million, had the highest number of children living in the province followed by Gauteng with 3.43 million.

The population aged 15 to 34 years were largely uneducated.

“They are … are in difficult situations and are likely to be in poverty,” said Lehohla.

HIV prevalence

Lehohla said the estimated HIV prevalence rate is approximately 12.7%, with the total number of people living with HIV being 7.03 million.

Among the youth, HIV prevalence in the 15 to 24 age group has declined over time from 7.6% in 2002 to 5.6 % in 2016.


According to the report, on average a woman will give birth to 2.43 children in her lifetime.

The report noted that fertility has declined from an average of 2.65 children per woman in 2002. The Northern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces had a lower fertility rate than that of the national average.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy of South Africans is at 62.4 years, while life expectancy at birth for 2016 is estimated at 59.7 years for males and 65.1 years for females.

The infant mortality rate for 2016 is estimated at 33.7 per 1 000 live births.


For the period of 2011 to 2016, it is estimated that approximately 247 437 people will have migrated out of the Eastern Cape, while Limpopo is estimated to experience an out-migration of nearly 305 030 people.