SA population tops 60m with 17m people younger than 15 – what about jobs?

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SA population tops 60m with 17m people younger than 15 – what about jobs?

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| Bruce Whitfield talks to former Statistician General Dr Pali Lehohla about the latest population figures.

  • The Money Show
  • Bruce Whitfield
  • Stats SA
  • Migrants
  • Migration
  • Population growth
  • Dr Pali Lehohla
  • SA population

South Africa’s population is growing slowly and now stands at 60,6 million.

That’s an increase of 1.06% since mid-2021, according to Statistics South Africa’s mid-year population estimates (MYPE).

It says births are the main driver of population growth.

Life expectancy has improved to 62,8 years, though not to pre-pandemic levels Stats SA says.

Just over 9% of South Africa’s population is 60 years or older.

More than 28% of the population is aged younger than 15 years – that’s over 17 million people.

Bruce Whitfield asks former Statistician General Dr Pali Lehohla how worried we should be about the number of young people in the country and the lack of opportunities available to them.

The population of 60.6 million **is** an estimate and it shows that the population is rising, albeit at a very slow rate.

Dr Pali Lehohla, Former Statistician General

I think the authorities are not really addressing that issue [of the growing youth demographic]… not only in South Africa, but generally in the third world. I see papers by African leaders that talk about ‘potential’… the demographic dividend can become a demographic disaster.

Dr Pali Lehohla, Former Statistician General

Dr Lehohla notes that the number of young people who cannot get jobs is growing.

RELATED: SA’s new unemployment high: ‘Those without strong education left to flounder’

With that number of the average age of 28… what is worrying me is that if you take the number of unemployed in the age group 15-34… in 2008 the number of people who were getting jobs was increasing. That ceased to increase by 2018…

Dr Pali Lehohla, Former Statistician General

…and it dropped dramatically since 2018 to date. Of course there was COVID, but COVID wasn’t the main cause… If you take that ten-year period in absolute numbers, the share of the young people aged 15-34 is the only number that has not only gone stagnant but actually dropped.

Dr Pali Lehohla, Former Statistician General

If you don’t fix the future, you’ll sit with a big demographic problem on your hands, concludes Whitfield.

Listen to the conversation on The Money Show:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : SA population tops 60m with 17m people younger than 15 – what about jobs?

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