South Africa’s population breaks 54-million

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    1 August 2014

    Life expectancy in South Africa continues to rise as the country’s population breaks the 54-million mark, Statistics South Africa reported on Thursday.

    Releasing its latest mid-year population estimates report in Pretoria, Stats SA said the country’s population grew by an estimated 1.58% between July 2013 and July 2014, increasing by about 844 000 people to stand at just over 54-million in total.

    According to the report, South Africa’s life expectancy at birth now stands at 61 years, having increased from an estimated 52 years in 2005, thanks to a lower infant mortality rate and a decrease in the number of Aids-related deaths in the country.

    Stats SA said the decline in South Africa’s infant mortality rate – from an estimated 58 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 34 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2014 – pointed to an improvement in the general health and living standards of the population.

    Aids-related deaths, meanwhile, dropped from an estimated 363 910 deaths (51% of all deaths) in 2005 to 171 733 deaths (31% of all deaths) in 2014, as a direct result of the increased rollout of free antiretroviral therapy in the country.

    According to Stats SA, the overall number of deaths in the country decreased from an estimated 716 083 deaths (15 deaths per 1 000 people) in 2005 to an estimated 551 289 deaths (10 deaths per 1 000 people) in 2014.

    At the same time, the country’s birth rate has decreased, from 24 births per 1 000 people in 2002 to 22 births per 1 000 people in 2014.

    Stats SA said the dual transition from high to low birth and death rates had changed the age structure of South Africa’s population, resulting in both a high proportion (30%) of the population under the age of 15, as well as growing proportion of elderly people, with an estimated 4.5-million people aged 60 years or older.

    SAinfo reporter