Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says the country’s population is now estimated to be 60.6 million by the end of June 2022.
Between 2002 and 2022, Stats SA said South Africa experienced a positive population growth year-on-year.
“A positive growth rate indicates that the population is increasing, despite the devastating impact of COVID-19 globally and within South Africa’s borders.”
In addition, by 2022, the national statistical service measures of mortality indicate an improvement in life expectancy at birth moving from 61.7 years in 2021 to 62.8 years in 2022.
“As the nation grappled with the pandemic, it brought attention not only to the importance of healthcare and other social services required by people but also to the age profile of the population and the vulnerability of key populations in the country.”
According to the report issued on Wednesday, the elderly population, who are more vulnerable to having comorbidities, are more likely to experience the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Data shows that the majority of deaths within this age group during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a drastic decline in the growth rate (1.47%) of the elderly population.
However, Stats SA said fast-tracking COVID-19 vaccination programme to ensure healthcare workers and people aged 60 years and above were jabbed saved senior citizens, resulting in an increased rate of growth among the elderly population (2.11%) by 2022.
Like COVID-19, Stats SA said, South Africa also paid a heavy price demographically due to the AIDS pandemic.
“In conjunction with losing economically active adults due to HIV/AIDS deaths, which impacted negatively on the demographic dividend, infant and child mortality reduced overall life expectancy in the country for some years. Whilst the age profile of the COVID-19 pandemic was vastly different, South Africa is yet to unpack the impact of the increased morbidity, mortality and change in migratory patterns over the last two years.”
The latest statistic is based on the mid-year population estimates (MPYE), which offer key indices and estimates regarding births, deaths and migratory movements in the country. It also looks into key estimates by age, sex and geographical data that assist in planning for the needs of the population.
In addition, Stats SA said the upcoming Census 2022 results will be a key source of data to update those estimates and indices.
In 2022, the MYPE indicates that about 28.07% of the population is aged younger than 15 years (17.01 million) and about 9.2% (5.59 million) is 60 years or older.
The provinces reflecting the highest percentage of children younger than 15 within its structure are Limpopo (33.6%) and Eastern Cape (32.7%). Meanwhile, Gauteng still comprises the largest share of the South African population, with approximately 16.10 million people (26.6%) living in this province.
KwaZulu-Natal is the province with the second largest population, with an estimated 11.54 million people (19%) living there.
With a population of approximately 1.31 million people (2.2%), Northern Cape remains the province with the smallest share of the South African population.
The MYPE does not include inputs from the census conducted in 2022.
Stats SA said the census data will be released in 2023 and there will be no mid-year population estimates report next year.