What Census 2022 tells us about migration in SA

Gauteng is a magnet for migrants but it’s not only foreigners who are drawn to South Africa’s economic hub. In fact, there are far more in-country migrants in Gauteng than there are foreign-born.

  • 4-million of the 15.1-million people who live in Gauteng were born in another part of the country, according to Stats SA’s Census 2022. So about 1 in every 4 people in Gauteng is an internal migrant.
  • The Western Cape has 1.67-million internal migrants. About 1 in 5 of that province’s 7.433-million people were born elsewhere in the country.
  • The Western Cape and Gauteng account for 70% of the country’s internal migrants.
  • Where did they come from? Limpopo is the birthplace of about a third of the internal migrants living in Gauteng and two out of three of the Western Cape’s migrants came from the Eastern Cape.
  • The Eastern Cape had the highest ‘out-migration’ numbers, 2-million people, followed by Limpopo, 1.66-million people.
  • The Western Cape is the place people are least likely to leave – for another part of South Africa – which could explain why it’s now the third most populous province.

International migration

Coming from further afield there are an estimated 2.4-million people, or 4% of South Africa’s population, who were born outside the country.

  • There was an 11% increase in foreign-born residents since the last census in 2011. That’s an increase of about 240,000 people, much smaller than the 1.15-million increase between the 2001 and 2011 censuses.
  • The top 5 countries where migrants were born remain ZimbabweMozambiqueLesothoMalawi and the UK.
  • Just over 1-million people from Zimbabwe live in South Africa, a 51% increase since 2011.
  • The number of people from Malawi and Ethiopia has doubled.
  • But there are fewer people from the UK, Namibia, India, Nigeria and Zambia – living in South Africa than there were in 2011.
  • Half of all international migrants live in Gauteng and 16% live in the Western Cape.