51.8 million people in South Africa: Census

30 October 2012 - 11:33
By Sapa

There were 51.8 million people living in South Africa last year in October, according to the 2011 Census.

This is about seven million more people than were counted at the previous census, in 2001.

The document shows there were 51,770,560 people in the country at midnight on October 9 last year, the date of the 2011 Census, compared to 44,819,778 counted a decade earlier.

It also shows there are more women than men. Of the 51.8 million, about 25.2 million are male, and 26.6 million are female.

Young population

Close to 60 percent of the population is under the age of 35.

The number of children aged zero to four outnumber other age brackets.

Over 5.6 million South Africans are under the age of four, while 4.8 million children are aged five to nine, and close to 4.6 million are between the ages of 10 and 14.

"Almost one in three, or 29.6 percent of the population of South Africa, is aged between zero and four years, and a further 28.9 percent is aged between 15 and 34 years," according to the document.

Their are a higher number of boys born in the country, but girls begin to outnumber their male counterparts between the ages of 15 to 19.

An expert at Statistics SA says this is a global trend, which can be attributed to three factors, namely mortality, fertility, and migration.

Gauteng most populous

The province with the largest population is Gauteng, which has overtaken KwaZulu-Natal as the province with the largest population, the document states.

The coastal province, however, still has a higher number of children, perhaps an indication of higher fertility rates and the number of people migrating out of KZN after age 20, according to census officials.

By contrast, the country's largest province, the Northern Cape, has the least number, with 1.1 million people.

KwaZulu-Natal, the second-most populous province, has 10.3 million.

The Eastern Cape population appears not to have grown at the same rate as other regions over the past 15 years. In 1996, the population was 6.1 million; in 2001, 6.3 million; and, in 2011, 6.6 million.

The population of neighbouring Western Cape has grown far more rapidly, from about four million in 1996, to 4.5 million in 2001, to 5.8 million in 2011.

More than a fifth speak Zulu as first language

More than a fifth of the population speak isiZulu in their households, according to the Census 2011 results.

Just over 11.5 million people use isiZulu as their first language, followed by isiXhosa spoken by 8 million South Africans.

Compared to 2001, the number of people speaking the two languages showed a slight downward trend.

Afrikaans remains the third most popular language in SA households.

Over 13 percent of the population speak Afrikaans.

The number of South Africans who speak English as a first language increased by more than a million, from 3.7 million to approximately 4.9 million.