City of Cape Town



Population Projection 2001 to 2021


The projected population for Cape Town using the 2001 Census as a starting point.


Existing Trends





Based on the middle migration rate the population in Cape Town is expected to grow by nearly 17% over the 20-year projection period. In 2006 the population is growing at 1.61% per annum due to a natural increase rate (excess of births over death) of 0.86% pa and a migration rate of 0.75% pa.  At the end of the projection period (2021) the population growth rate will have fallen to 0.62% pa as determined by a natural increase rate of 0.09% pa and a migration rate of 0.53% pa.


The most recent estimate of the population for Cape Town is 3,367,235 from the September 2007 Labour Force Survey.  This is in line with the high migration rate projection.


The rapid rates of population growth in the past have created a young age structure that provides a built-in momentum for future growth, especially of the potential labour force. However the increase in work seekers could lead to higher levels of unemployment, which will depend to a large extent on the levels of skills needed in every sector of the economy. Where rates of job creation are inadequate the lower income groups will have less access to services such as education and health and, being generally less skilled, will suffer most from low wages and high levels of poverty. The major needs of potential work seekers will focus on new forms of job training, skill development and an efficient and effective public transport system in order to impact positively on commuting patterns to and from centres of employment.


As the rate of population growth declines there well be an ageing of the population. This will result in the number of those over the age of 65 increasing over the projection period and the needs of this group will need to be addressed.  There will be a wide range of needs from curative health measures, greater safety and security to a wide range of social services that cater specially to the needs of the elderly.


A map of population density by suburb using the 2001 Census information


Projection of the Population for Cape Town 2001-2021 (Dorrington, 2005)

Statistics South Africa: September 2007 Labour Force Survey


Karen Small

Head: Strategic Information Analysis and Research

Strategic Development Information and GIS


Complied by

Strategic Information, Strategic Development Information and GIS Department