South Africa’s population rises by more than 10 million in 11 years

South Africa is home to 62-million people as of 2022, more than 10-million more than the 51.7-million counted in 2011. Of these, more than half — 31,948-million or 51.5% — are female, while 30,078-million are male.

Education levels are a mixed bag, while more people than ever before have access to electricity and piped water

Stats SA announced the new population figures at an event at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday, where statistician-general Risenga Maluleke handed over the results to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The most populous province remains Gauteng with 15-million people, while the Northern Cape is the most sparsely populated with only 1.3-million people. More than half of the country’s people — 56% — live in three provinces: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. The latter is now the third most populous province, up from fifth place in 2011.

Of the population groups, just over four out of five (81.4%) of South Africans are black African, while 8.2% are coloured, 7.3% are white and 2.7% are Indian/Asian. The number of whites has been steadily decreasing as a percentage of the overall population, from 11% of the total in 1996.

Migration was also a key issue covered in the census. The provinces that gained people were Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, while those who lost population were the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, the Free State and North West.


Among the best news to come out of Census 2022 is that more than three-million children across the country were enrolled in early childhood development programmes. This was a new question that did not formed part of previous censuses. The provinces which had the most children enrolled in these programmes were the Western Cape (69.5%) and Gauteng (66%). Those with the fewest were the Northern Cape, where less than half of those aged between zero and four years (56.7%) attended ECD centres, followed by North West (52.4%).

Census 2022 showed there were only three percentage points more young people aged between five and 24 in school or educational facilities than there were in 1996, with the figure rising from 70.1% to 73.4%. In this category, the Free State fared the best in the past 11 years, with an increase from 73.1% reflected in the 2011 census to 76.8% in 2022.

Critically, the figures indicate not enough progress has been made in addressing an imbalance in education levels between race groups

Critically, the figures indicate not enough progress has been made in addressing an imbalance in education levels between race groups.

“Also important is that the black African and coloured populations tend to be concentrated in the secondary education level, which may suggest higher dropout rates and limited progression to tertiary education. Conversely, the white and Indian/Asian population groups are more likely to be concentrated in the completed secondary school and post-secondary education levels,” Stats SA said.

Gender played little role in education levels among whites, the census figures indicate, with disparities existing mainly between population groups.

Whites, regardless of gender, reported the highest post-school education levels, followed by the Indian/Asian population, with half the number of post-school qualifications as whites. African and coloured population groups reported post-school education enrolment of 11.5%, which is below the national average. The post-school enrolment rate, the Census found, is nearly double that for Indian/Asians and four times that for whites, Stats SA said.


Informal houses like shacks have also declined, with the number of households who reported living in them dropping to 8.1% in 2022 from 13.6% in 2011. Conversely, households living in formal houses increased to 88.5% in 2022, a huge rise from 65.1% in 1996.

The gender of heads of households is generally evenly split between men and women across the country, but with women reported to be more likely to be heads of households in the more rural provinces — KwaZulu-Natal (53.1%), Eastern Cape (51.9%) and Limpopo (51.6%).

Access to services

More people have access to services in the country than they did in 2011, with more than 80% of people now having access to piped water at home or in their yards. However, residents of the Eastern Cape (19.5%) and Limpopo (20.5%) have the least access.

Access to electricity has risen to 90% of the country’s residents, up from 58% in 1996. The Western Cape has the highest percentage of electrified households at 96.5%.

Flush toilets were more likely to be enjoyed by those living in the Western Cape (93.9%) and Gauteng (89.7%) than provinces like the Northern Cape, where 4.5% of residents use bucket toilets, and the Eastern Cape, where 3% of households say they have no toilet at all.

Refuse removal was also enjoyed by Western Cape (88.7%) and Gauteng (85%) residents, while only 32% of Limpopo residents enjoy weekly rubbish removal services from a municipality.