Infographics

Infographic: Census counts of South Africa’s population

South Africa has held three official censuses in its recent democratic history: in 1996, 2001 and 2011. In the 15 years between 1996 and 2011, the total population increased by 11.2-million people.

Infographic: The population of South Africa and ratio of the four main population groups according to Census 1996, Census 2001, Census 2011 and the 2017 mid-year population estimates
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Read more: South Africa’s population

Census figures reveal a significant shift in the country’s racial profile.

In the 15 years between Census 1996 and Census 2011, the black population increased by 9.9-million, the coloured population by 1-million, the Indian population by 240,000 – and the white population by only 150,000.

South Africa’s population profile went from 76.7% black, 10.9% white, 8.9% coloured and 2.6% Indian in 1996, to 79.2% black, 8.9% white, 8.9% coloured and 2.5% Indian in 2011.

The slow increase in the white population – only 150,000 in 15 years, from a base of 4.4-million – is likely due to two factors. One is the low rate of natural increase typical of affluent communities. The other is a high rate of white emigration from South Africa.

In 2017, according to the mid-year population estimates, South Africa’s population was 80.8% black, 8% white, 8.8% coloured and 2.5% Indian.

Here are the figures for the four censuses, and the most recent population estimates:

Census 1996

  • Total: 40,583,573
  • Black: 31,127,631 (76.7%)
  • Coloured: 3,600,446 (8.9%)
  • White: 4,434,697 (10.9%)
  • Indian or Asian: 1,045,596 (2.6%)

Census 2001

  • Total: 44,819,778
  • Black: 35,416,166 (79.0%)
  • Coloured: 3,994,505 (8.9%)
  • White: 4,293,640 (9.6%)
  • Indian or Asian: 1,115,467 (2.5%)

Census 2011

  • Total: 51,770,560
  • Black: 41,000,938 (79.2%)
  • Coloured: 4,615,401 (8.9%)
  • White: 4,586,838 (8.9%)
  • Indian or Asian: 1,286,930 (2.5%)

Mid-year population estimates 2017

  • Total: 56,521,900
  • Black: 45,656,400 (80.8%)
  • Coloured: 4,962,900 (8.8%)
  • White: 4,493,500 (8.0%)
  • Indian or Asian: 1,409,100 (2.5%)

 

Researched, written and designed by Mary Alexander.
Updated 11 April 2018.
Comments? Email southafrica.gateway@gmail.com

 

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