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Composition of the population in South Africa


Cape town
Cape town

The estimated total population of South Africa in 2018 was 56,720,489. The overall population density (2009 estimate) is 40 persons per sq km (104 per sq mi), but this varies widely across the country. Rural population densities are highest in the former bantustans and much lower in historically white-populated areas of commercial farming, especially in semiarid western areas. Some 58 percent of the population is urban, including most of the whites, Asians, and Coloureds. The largest cities in South Africa include Johannesburg (3,225,812, 2001), the commercial capital and metropolis of the goldfields; Durban (3,090,122), the country’s leading port; Cape Town (2,893,247), the legislative capital; Pretoria (1,985,983), the administrative capital; Port Elizabeth (1,005,779), an industrial city and major port; and Soweto (858,649), a former township outside Johannesburg.

Multiracial and multiethnic population


South Africa has a multiracial and multiethnic population. Blacks constitute 79 percent of the population. The main black ethnic groups are Zulu, Xhosa, North Sotho, Tswana, South Sotho, and Tsonga. Whites account for 10 percent of the population: More than half are Afrikaners, and most of the rest are of British descent. Coloured people account for 9 percent of the population, and Asians (mainly Indians) 2 percent.

The white, Asian, and Coloured populations are highly urbanized. The largest concentrations of Asians and Coloured people are found in KwaZulu-Natal and the three Cape provinces, but lesser numbers of both groups live in Gauteng.

English-speaking whites and Afrikaners


English-speaking whites and Afrikaners live in all cities, but Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, and Pietermaritzburg have more English speakers, whereas Afrikaners are predominant in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and many of the industrial and mining towns on the Witwatersrand.

More than half of the blacks are urbanized, mostly living in formal, low-income townships or informal, rapidly growing settlements. Millions of blacks still live in rural communities in the ten former bantustans. The black population of Johannesburg and the rest of Gauteng Province is ethnically mixed, but in other cities one group tends to be dominant: Zulu in Durban and Pietermaritzburg; Sotho in Bloemfontein; and Xhosa in Port Elizabeth, East London, and Cape Town. "South Africa" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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