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62,027,503 and counting — the Census 2022 data in charts

62,027,503 and counting — the Census 2022 data in charts
A Statistics South Africa team counts the transient population during Census 2022 in Marabastad on 2 February in Pretoria. (Photo: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

South Africa’s population reached a record high last year of more than 62 million people, with an average annual growth rate of 1.8% since the 2011 census. We unpack the Census 2022 findings in graphic form.

Statistics South Africa on Tuesday, 10 October, revealed the findings of the long-awaited Census 2022, which was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, and hindered further by the July riots in 2021 and the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal last year. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: SA’s population has increased to 62 million — a challenge for government to provide basic services

Below are some of the biggest takeaways from the new data. 

Population boom

South Africa’s population on 2 February 2022 was 62 million people — 10.2 million more than were counted in the 2011 census.

Gauteng is the most populous province (15.1 million), ballooning from 12.2 million in 2011. Northern Cape is the least populated province (1.4 million).

All South Africa’s nine provinces experienced an uptick in population.



The census revealed that 81.4% of the population were black Africans, a slight increase since 2011 (79.2%). The country’s coloured population percentage declined slightly, from 8.9% in 2o11 to 8.1% in 2022. The white population also continued its downward trend, from 8.9% in 2011 to 7.3% in 2022.


The census data show that in 2022 there were more women (51.5%) in South Africa than men (48.5%).



Mpumalanga and Limpopo had the highest percentage of people with no schooling (11.7% and 14.1%, respectively), which was above the national average of 6.9%.

The lowest percentage of people with no education was in the Western Cape (2.3%), followed by Gauteng (3.9%).

The census found nearly 2.6 million people in SA aged 20 years and older had no schooling, while 1.3 million had completed primary education.


Access to basic services

There was an increase in the number of households residing in formal dwellings — up by 10.9 percentage points from 2011 to 2022. 

According to the StatsSA 2022 census report, formal dwellings included formal houses with a “brick/concrete structure, flats and apartments, cluster homes, townhouses, semi-detached houses or any formal dwelling situated in a backyard, such as a room or garden cottage where a household or single person resides”.

The proportion of households that resided in informal dwellings halved from 16.2% in 1996 to 8.1% in 2022.


In 2022, 59.7% of households in South Africa had access to piped water inside their dwellings, while 22.7% had access to piped water inside their yards. 

The percentage of households that reported having no access to piped water decreased from 8.8% in 2011 to 8.7% in 2022. 



The 2022 census found that electricity was the main source of power for lighting across all provinces.

The use of electricity for light was most prevalent in the Western Cape (96.5%) and KwaZulu-Natal (96.7%), and least prevalent in the Northern Cape (92.5%) and Gauteng (93.2%).



isiZulu remained the most spoken language in SA (24.4% of households).

The second most spoken language was isiXhosa (16.3%), followed by Afrikaans (10.6%).

The number of isiZulu and isiXhosa-speaking households increased from 2011 to 2022, while the number of Afrikaans-speaking households declined from 13.5% in 2011 to 10.6% in 2022.




The 2022 census showed that there were more than 2.4 million international migrants in South Africa, equating to 3% of the total population.

Most came from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region (86%). Of these, 45.5% were from Zimbabwe, followed by Mozambique with 18.7% and Lesotho with 10.2%.

The top five “sending countries” to South Africa are Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and the UK.



Around 55,719 people were recorded as homeless in South Africa in 2022. Of these, 11,207 were in shelters, while 44,512 were roofless.

Census 2022 findings showed that homelessness was more prevalent in metropolitan areas (74.1%). The City of Tshwane recorded the highest proportion of homeless people (18.1%), followed by the City of Johannesburg (15.6%).

Nelson Mandela Bay recorded the lowest proportion of homeless people (2.7%).


The leading reason people gave for their homelessness was that they had lost their job, had no job or no income (41.3%). This was followed by drug and alcohol abuse at 25%.




Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Very useful thanks.

  • Johan Buys says:

    One dubious number is the homeless total of 55k?

  • Johan Buys says:

    The scary trend is shrinking GDP per capita. 2011 GDP was $458 billion, 2022 was only $406 billion. So per capita GDP has shrunk from 8400 to 6500.

    We should go listen to our Chinese communist comrades. They went from $5,600 to $12,700. How? Obviously one part of the math is economic growth. The other part of the math is we follow one part of the Bible : go forth and multiply.

  • Lawrence Sisitka says:

    And English is only the 5th most spoken language in households, way behind isiZulu, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, even less than Sepedi and pretty well on a par with Sesotho and Setswana, and yet almost all government information at all levels, including provincial is in…English!

    • Tony W says:

      If everyone conducted business etc in their household language it would be a tower of Babel.
      English is the common denominator for business and daily transactions outside the home.

      • Eduardo Fernández says:

        You are right. As a foreign (South American) visitor in the country in 2016 and being Spanish my native language, I relied on English for communication during my three-weeks stay. I mostly spoke to people whose English seemed to be their second or third language. I think I barely spoke to someone with it as a native tongue. The only place where I was not understood or so it seemed, was in the remote town of Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, when asking the locals for the minibus taxi station to Durban. Other than that, an exciting adventure in an amazing country.

  • Derrick Kourie says:

    I suspect that the bar charts for water provision in 1996 and 2001 have mistakenly been swapped around.

    With the exception of that data, the overall picture shows that there has been a consistent rise in the provision of housing, water and electricity since 1996. Perhaps that is why large numbers of people keep voting for the ANC — they exprience their lives as indeed having improved over the last 3 decades!

    Of course, the improvement could have been much much better, but those of us who oppose this government for its incompetence and corruption should at least concede this point. I am assuming, of course, that the data is fairly accurate.

    Also of significance is that the number of births per woman has dropped from about 3.12 in 1996 to about 2.31 now. (It was 6.0 in 1950!) This suggests that the steady state of 2.1 per woman will be reached within the next decade.

    Maybe things are not quite as gloomy as we sometimes think — load shedding, corruption, cadre deployment and incompetence notwithstanding 🙂

    • Rudi Hillermann says:

      Water, sanitation, electricity numbers refer to ‘presence’ thereof rather than to ‘functionality’.
      Follow &/or refer to @Asivikelane monitoring of basic service delivery

  • Paul Hollick says:

    Our household wasn’t counted during the last census. Nobody came to our home. There was someone at home during the whole census period.
    We also weren’t counted during the previous census. We were away at our timeshare for one week. We were not counted there, or at home.
    How accurate can this information be? It might be precise, but is it accurate?

  • Mark Widdicombe says:

    Add two to the total. I tried umpteen times to fill in our data, but the web site kept crashing. We were living on our yacht and no census official knocked on our washboards.

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