The midyear population estimates published by Stats SA reveal many encouraging demographic trends, but they also underline the urgent need to increase the rate of job creation and economic growth. On the plus side, fertility rates are down, mortality rates have improved across the board, life expectancy is well up and the number of Aids-related deaths has declined significantly over the past decade, thanks to the progressive rollout of antiretroviral therapy. On the other hand, the SA economy needs to grow at the same pace as the population – 1.5% a year — to maintain per-capita income levels. There are now 57.7-million people living in SA, with about 900,000 more being added each year. Of these, roughly 203,000 are international migrants. Immigration now accounts for a significant 17% of SA’s population growth; one in every six new people is an immigrant. The total stock of immigrants accounts for only about 7% of the SA population, however, which is relatively moderate compared wi...

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