What Should You Know about the Population of South Africa

Updated on January 9, 2024

The Population of South Africa

South Africa, located on the southernmost tip of the African continent, is a diverse and multicultural country with a fascinating population. With a rich history and a wide range of ethnicities, South Africa’s population is a melting pot of cultures. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of the population of South Africa, including demographics, growth rate, ethnic groups, languages, and major cities.


The population of South Africa is estimated to be around 59.6 million people. It is a relatively young population, with a median age of 27 years. The country has a slightly higher proportion of females, making up 51% of the total population. The population growth rate is moderate, with an annual increase of approximately 1.2%.

Ethnic Groups

South Africa is known for its diverse ethnic makeup. The majority of the population is of African descent, accounting for around 80% of the total population. Among the African ethnic groups, the largest are Zulu, Xhosa, and Sotho. The remaining 20% of the population is composed of various ethnicities, including White South Africans, who make up about 8% of the population, and those of Indian and Asian descent, who make up about 2%.

What Should You Know about the Population of South Africa


South Africa is a linguistically diverse country, with 11 official languages. The most widely spoken language is Zulu, followed by Xhosa and Afrikaans. English, although only the fifth most spoken language in the country, plays a significant role in business, education, and government affairs. The multiple languages spoken in South Africa reflect the nation’s multicultural heritage.

Major Cities

South Africa has several thriving cities, each offering a unique experience. Johannesburg, also known as the “City of Gold,” is the largest city in South Africa and serves as the economic hub of the country. Cape Town, located on the southwest coast, is famous for its stunning beaches, diverse wildlife, and iconic Table Mountain. Durban, situated on the east coast, is known for its warm weather and rich Indian culture. Pretoria, the administrative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital, complete the trio of South Africa’s capital cities.


The population of South Africa is a vibrant mix of cultures, languages, and ethnicities. With a diverse ethnic makeup, a variety of languages spoken, and fascinating cities, South Africa showcases the beauty of multiculturalism. Understanding the population dynamics of South Africa provides a glimpse into the rich tapestry that makes up this remarkable country.