SA entering demographic winter, says Pali Lehohla

Figures released today show a decrease in the number of children born in the country.

FILE: Statistician General Pali Lehohla. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Statistician General Pali Lehohla says South Africa is entering what he describes as a demographic winter, which sees a dwindling growth in the population.

Lehohla today released Stats SA's mid-year population estimates, revealing that the country's population now stands at 55.91 million.

While there has been a population increase of more than one million people since last year overall trends show a decline in growth.

Lehohla says while the growth of South Africa's population may seem burdensome in relation to the minimal growth of the economy, the rate isn't as high as many believe.

"About 1.19 million that's what the population of South Africa is at, that's a very low growth heading towards a demographic winter."

Figures released today show a decrease in the number of children born in the country.

While the number of elderly people and children younger than 14 are on the rise, those between ages 15 to 34 are dying at a more rapid pace.

Stats SA says its report is essential for informing the policy-making and guiding the implementation of the national development plan.

As South Africa's population among 15 to 34-year-olds continues to decrease, Lehohla has described the age group, which has the poorest quality of life, as a cocktail for disaster.

Lehohla says those in this age bracket are most likely to be living in poverty, uneducated and unemployed.

He says improvements in the higher education system and the economy are vital for the improvement of young people.

"They are actually in very difficult situations. In the causes of death you see that although death as a consequences of viral deceases amongst men, they more likely to die from accidents."