E.g., 07/23/2021
E.g., 07/23/2021
Country Resource - South Africa

South Africa

ZA
  • Population...................................................................... 56,978,635 (July 2021est.)
  • Population growth rate ............................................................. 0.95% (2021 est.)
  • Birth rate..................................................... 18.89 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
  • Death rate................................................ 9.27 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
  • Net migration rate............................... -0.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
  • Ethnic groups*.................................. Black African 80.9%, Colored 8.8%, White 7.8%, Indian/Asian 2.5% (2018 est.)

* Colored is a term used in South Africa, including on the national census, for persons of mixed race ancestry who developed a distinct cultural identity over several hundred years

Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

CIA World Factbook

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South Africa is struggling to define a post-apartheid migration policy that is responsive to its changing role in Africa, the relationship between migration and development, and the country's rampant xenophobia, seen most graphically in May 2008. Jonathan Crush of the Southern African Migration Project reports on the latest developments.

Recent Activity

africa intracontinental movement

While intraregional migration is a pillar of the African Union's focus on enhancing regional integration and economic development, visa-free travel or visas upon arrival are a reality for only about half of the countries on the continent. Progress towards free movement for Africans has occurred mostly at a subregional level, as this article explores.

SomaliImmigrantUS

The sub-Saharan African immigrant population in the United States is a small, but quickly growing, one. Between 2010 and 2018, the size of the sub-Saharan African population increased 52 percent, far outpacing the overall rise in the foreign born. Immigrants coming from the 51 sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are diverse in their origins and socioeconomic characteristics, as this Spotlight explores.

ChineseTourists

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner since 2009, and as commerce and investment have increased, so have flows of people in both directions. With an estimated 1 million to 2 million Chinese migrants across Africa, some countries have relaxed their short-term visa requirements in hopes of facilitating cultural and business exchanges. High levels of Chinese investment do not, however, correlate with more liberal visa policies, as this article explores.

iom calais phoenix family

The population of sub-Saharan African immigrants in the United States has grown rapidly in recent decades, from 130,000 in 1980 to 1.7 million in 2015. The current flow of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa consists of skilled professionals, individuals seeking reunification with relatives, and refugees from war-torn countries. This article provides the latest data on immigrants from the region in the United States.

LHR RROQueue

Systemic corruption has flourished in South Africa's asylum system due to large backlogs and rising demand. Though apartheid's end ushered in a progressive refugee law, inefficiency, administrative justice violations, and corruption have narrowed the humanitarian protection channel. Asylum seekers and refugees often face the stark choice of paying bribes to access services or risking deportation.

The past decade has brought tens of thousands of Chinese migrants to Africa, and well over half of all Chinese migrants to the continent head to South Africa. Yoon Jung Park of Rhodes University discusses the history of Chinese migration to South Africa, the various communities of Chinese currently residing in the country, and their levels of political, social, and economic integration.

Five factors, including wages and professional development, drive skilled people to migrate, and three reasons encourage them to return. Laura Chappell and Alex Glennie of ippr in London look at all of these factors and how motivations vary across different contexts and groups of migrants.

South Africa, Brazil, and Costa Rica—all destinations for migrants from the region—sought to make the lives of immigrants a little better in 2009.

Unfortunately, 2008 brought a new wave of xenophobia, most notably in South Africa and Italy.

sf map
South Africa is struggling to define a post-apartheid migration policy that is responsive to its changing role in Africa, the relationship between migration and development, and the country's rampant xenophobia, seen most graphically in May 2008. Jonathan Crush of the Southern African Migration Project reports on the latest developments.

Pages

coverthumb_covid19 global mobility 2020
Reports
April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically curtailed cross-border mobility in 2020, affecting travelers and migrants around the world. This report presents a first-of-its-kind analysis of the many thousands of travel restrictions and border closures imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus. It examines how these policies evolved, varied across countries and regions, and what these trends may mean for the future of international movement.

Cover image for From Unilateral Response to Coordinated Action: How Can Mobility Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa Adapt to the Public-Health Challenges of COVID-19?
Policy Briefs
June 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged public health and migration management infrastructures in sub-Saharan Africa, as never before. It revealed important lessons about how countries in the region can adapt mobility systems in ways that protect public health while also allowing people to safely access work, humanitarian protection, and their communities.