On the move: South Africa and migration

With all the information on the growth of cities, it is salient that the actual movements of people to these cities and the reasons for their movement are largely unacknowledged by the national and local authorities who have to provide for their requirements – mostly they are ignored.  The latest Census in South African Census 2011 has brought to light some interesting statistics which are just begin gin to be explored – here from Daily Maverick 

Last week, statistics from Census2011 indicated the extent to which South Africa continued to be shaped by migration. This is a country still on the move. KHADIJA PATEL spoke to Wits University’s Professor Loren Landau about the impact of migration on the economy and development.

“If people could leave the Eastern Cape to live like this,” I asked my friend, gesturing at the sprawling informal settlement behind us near Lonmin’s mine in Marikana, “what’s it like in the Eastern Cape?”

“There aren’t jobs in the Eastern Cape,” he responded absently.

He’s an industrial sociologist turned journalist, so he would know what he’s talking about. And his explanation, cursory as it was, was the most glaring answer to my frustrated attempts to understand why people would leave their homes and families in the Eastern Cape to live in the shadow of a platinum mine that even now, in the throes of a strike that captured the world’s attention, appears utterly oblivious to the struggles of the informal settlement before it. These people travelled from the Eastern Cape, the Free State; others came from Mozambique to work.

And their movement in and across the country influences the way South Africa is developed.

Judging by results from the Census2011, the greatest growth appears to have occurred in Gauteng. There were 7.6 million people counted in the province in the 1996 census. This then grew to 9.2 million by 2001 and to 12.3 million last year – an increase of 33.7% from 1996 to 2011.

The population of the Western Cape grew by 28.7 %, from almost four million to 5.9 million. Mpumalanga grew by 20% from 3.1 million in 1996, to just over four million last year.

In contrast, the Free State’s population, 2,745,590 according to Census2011, grew by just 1.4% over the same 15-year period. Juxtaposed against a national population increase of 15.5% in the period spanning 1996 and 2011, this suggests that at least a fair number people may be migrating out of the province, since the birth rate is not low enough to account for the discrepancy.

So, too, the primary reason for a low growth rate in the Eastern Cape is said to be large net migration. In the Eastern Cape, 436,466 people left the province in the last ten years. Ninety-four percent of the Eastern Cape population was born in the province, compared to 56% in Gauteng. Almost two million people born in the Eastern Cape live in other provinces, with the majority living in Western Cape (0.9 million) and Gauteng (0.5 million).

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