Good public healthcare in Western Cape will mean an older population
The Western Cape’s overall population is expected to grow by 1.53-million people to 7.36-million by the year 2040, according to new projections by the provincial government published Tuesday.
According to the 2011 census, the most recent measure of the population, there were about 6-million people residing in the Western Cape at the time. Statistics SA figures have also showed that from the period 2011-16, the Western Cape was estimated to have experienced an inflow of migrants totalling 350,569 people.
Western Cape social development MEC Albert Fritz said the projections, released on word population day, had implications for the department’s services to four priority groups: children, youth, people with disabilities and older persons.
In the past, the provincial government has called on the national government to revise the equitable share formula, saying the province was being sidelined and not being allocated an adequate share, despite an increasing population.
The equitable share formula enables the national government to distribute money to provinces from revenue collected nationally, according to developmental priorities. It is also used to allocate funding to the country’s municipalities.
Commenting on the population projections, Fritz said of great interest was how the Western Cape’s population was expected to age significantly over the next three decades. Reasons included good public healthcare, as well as in-migration to the province.
"When looked at in detail, the Western Cape’s largest age group at the moment is people between 14 years and 29 years. As we move towards 2020, there is a shift, and the ageing trend leads to growth in the 25-39-year-old age groups, with a boom in the number of children. Going into the year 2030 and 2040, there are significant increases in the older age groups, including persons reaching pension/retirement age," said Fritz.
The projections go into further detail, and also provide a breakdown of population in each of the provinces’ regions. The west coast is expected to experience the highest rate of population growth, followed by Overberg. The City of Cape Town metro is expected to experience the lowest rate of population growth, mainly because it is growing from a higher population base than more rural areas.
"This data is instructive in guiding the department’s spending and service priorities into the future. [The department] has already begun to expand [its] reach to meet the needs of an ever-growing population," said Fritz.
He said the department had availed the data to other provincial departments for their own planning purposes.