Infographics

Moving to the city: Provincial migration in South Africa from 2002 to 2017

South Africans migrate to where the jobs are. They move from poorer provinces to the richer ones, and from rural areas to the cities.

Gauteng is South Africa’s wealthiest province, mostly a city region and the centre of the country’s economy. It has the largest population, constantly increased by migration. Gauteng’s net migration rate (the number of people moving in minus people moving out) was nearly two million between 2006 and 2016. Its population will be swelled by another million from 2016 to 2021.

The Eastern Cape is the poorest province. Between 2006 and 2016 a million of its people migrated to other provinces, while only 300,000 or so moved into the province, leaving the Eastern Cape with a negative net migration of minus 700,000 people. From 2016 to 2021 the Eastern Cape is expected to lose another 324,000 people to migration.

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Estimated migration between the provinces from 2006 to 2011

Province Out-migrants In-migrants Net migration
Eastern Cape

512,305

153,823

-358,482

Free State

149,393

120,146

-29,247

Gauteng

419,366

1,323,985

904,619

KwaZulu-Natal

322,018

257,968

-64,050

Limpopo

372,131

216,247

-155,884

Mpumalanga

178,826

231,420

52,594

Northern Cape

68,296

69,453

1,157

North West

172,074

258,766

86,691

Western Cape

142,758

414,826

272,069

Estimated migration between the provinces from 2011 to 2016

Province Out-migrants In-migrants Net migration
Eastern Cape

499,543

173,372

-326,171

Free State

154,405

133,492

-20,913

Gauteng

481,263

1,462,553

981,290

KwaZulu-Natal

340,228

277,867

-62,360

Limpopo

392,905

249,137

-143,767

Mpumalanga

194,958

258,961

64,003

Northern Cape

72,441

75,752

3,311

North West

191,413

289,177

97,764

Western Cape

159,513

451,885

292,372

Projected migration between the provinces from 2016 to 2021

Province Out-migrants In-migrants Net migration
Eastern Cape

515,648

191,435

-324,213

Free State

160,107

147,246

-12,860

Gauteng

544,875

1,595,106

1,050,230

KwaZulu-Natal

360,830

307,123

-53706.4

Limpopo

417,453

278,847

-138,606

Mpumalanga

212,271

285,678

73,407

Northern Cape

76,832

82,502

5,670

North West

207,662

317,261

109,599

Western Cape

175,831

485,560

309,729

 

Researched, written and designed by Mary Alexander.
Updated 6 April 2018.
Comments? Email southafrica.gateway@gmail.com

 

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