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SA population grows despite Covid-19, high HIV rate

‘The social and economic effect of losing so many elderly people to the pandemic is likely to be felt in many years to come’

29 July 2022 - 08:36
Gauteng has the largest population, with an estimated 16,1-million people living in the province. File photo.
Gauteng has the largest population, with an estimated 16,1-million people living in the province. File photo.
Image: Marianne Schwankhart

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and high rate of HIV, SA’s population has grown and is estimated to be 60.6-million people, according to the Stats SA mid-year population estimates.

The overall growth rate is estimated to be 1,06% in the period 2021–2022.

The black African population is in the majority (49,07-million) and constitutes approximately 81% of the total population. The white population is estimated at 4,6-million, the coloured population at 5,3-million and the Indian/Asian population at 1,5-million.

More than half ( 51% or 30,98-million) of the population is female and about 28,1% is aged 0–14 years.

Almost a fourth of SA women in their reproductive years (15–49 years) are HIV-positive.

The total number of people living with HIV is estimated at 8,45-million, equal to 13,9% of the total population. 

As of mid 2022 the life expectancy at birth is around 60 years for males and 65,6 years for females. The infant mortality rate is estimated at 24,3 per 1,000 live births.

On March 5 2020 the first positive case of Covid-19 was found in SA. The World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on March 11 that year, and the first SA Covid-19 death occurred on March 27 2020.

“As the spread of the disease occurred over time, there was a rise in the number of direct and indirect deaths in the population due to Covid-19,”said Stats SA.

“In conjunction, there was a rise in innovation in Covid-19 related treatment protocols, prevention measures and vaccination development over this time.”

Due to achievements in health and wellbeing, population growth rates prior to the Covid-19 pandemic for youth aged 15–24 and adults 60 and over were on the incline, said the report.

The estimated annual population growth rate increased from 0,96% for the period 2002–2003 to 1,39% for the period 2019–2020. However, in the period, 2020–2021 the overall growth rate declined to 1,03%, which is directly related to the drastic increase in deaths and decline in migration during the pandemic.

The proportion of the elderly in SA was on the increase with the growth rate among elderly (60 years and older) rising from 1,08% for the period 2002–2003 to 2,88% for the period 2019–2020. However, given the high mortality levels among the elderly during the Covid-19 pandemic, the growth rate among the elderly aged 60 and older drastically declined from 2,88% for the period 2019–2020 to 1,47% for the period 2020–2021. This has bounced back to 2,11% in the period 2021–2022, helped by the rollout of vaccinations.

“The social and economic effect of losing so many elderly people to the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to be felt in many years to come,” said Stats SA.

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