South Africa facts: People

South Africa facts: People

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Last update on December 12, 2018

This guide on South Africa facts includes the population details of South Africa.


country comparison to the world: 25
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 28.9 percent (male 7,093,328/female 7,061,579)
15-64 years: 65.8 percent (male 16,275,424/female 15,984,181)
65 years and over: 5.4 percent (male 1,075,117/female 1,562,860) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 24.7 years
male: 24.4 years
female: 25 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

-0.051 percent (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202

Birth rate:

19.61 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Death rate:

16.99 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4


-3.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 185
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2010 est.)


urban population: 61 percent of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.4 percent annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 43.78 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 61
male: 47.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 39.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 49.2 years
country comparison to the world: 215
male: 50.08 years
female: 48.29 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.33 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:

18.1 percent (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:

5.7 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
HIV/AIDS – deaths:

350,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)


noun: South African(s)
adjective: South African

Ethnic groups:

black African 79 percent, white 9.6 percent, colored 8.9 percent, Indian/Asian 2.5 percent (2001 census)


Zion Christian 11.1 percent, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2 percent, Catholic 7.1 percent, Methodist 6.8 percent, Dutch Reformed 6.7 percent, Anglican 3.8 percent, Muslim 1.5 percent, other Christian 36 percent, other 2.3 percent, unspecified 1.4 percent, none 15.1 percent (2001 census)


IsiZulu (official) 23.8 percent, IsiXhosa (official) 17.6 percent, Afrikaans (official) 13.3 percent, Sepedi (official) 9.4 percent, English (official) 8.2 percent, Setswana (official) 8.2 percent, Sesotho (official) 7.9 percent, Xitsonga (official) 4.4 percent, other 7.2 percent, isiNdebele (official), Tshivenda (official), siSwati (official) (2001 census)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4 percent
male: 87 percent
female: 85.7 percent (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2004)
Education expenditures:

5.4 percent of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 49


CIA Factbook / Expatica