2011 Census Data for Cape Town

The first releases of data from the 2011 census are available.


The table below shows the change in the population of the City Cape Town district between 2001 and 2011.


Population Growth 


The overall increase in population in the City of Cape Town over 10 years is 26.8% (775,599 people) to 3.67m. This is against a national population increase in the same period of 15.5%.


The population of Gauteng Province (centred on Johannesburg) grew at a faster rate of 30.7% to become South Africa's most populous province.


The relative population growth rate for the City of Cape Town suggests, other things being equal,  that there was significant net inward migration into the City between 2001 and 2011. The 26.8% City population growth is a nominal 11.3% more than the national rate of 15.5%.  This suggests that 42.2% of the City population growth of 775,599 is due to inward migration.  Very roughly speaking that is new inward migration of 327,300 people. (This does not take account of the lower than average population growth for the Coloured and White population groups in the City of Cape Town.)


Population growth by Population Group

The population group that risen fastest in the City of Cape Town is Black African - by 57.7% and 0.528m in 10 years.


Black Africans now account for 39.4 % of the population of the City of Cape Town and have closed the gap on the Coloured population which accounts for 43.2% of the City district (down from 48.1% in 2001).


The White population has grown by 8% and now accounts for 16% of the population of Cape Town.


Whilst there is no information on birth rates for population groups if we assume these are similar (which may not be the case) population growth by population group data would suggest that nearly three quarters of the rise in the Black African population (c.390,000-400,000) in the City of Cape Town is accounted for by net domestic inward migration.

City of Cape Town by population group 2001-2011

2001 2011 % increase
Black African 916,460 1,444,939 57.7
Coloured 1,391,857 1,585,286 13.9
Indian/Asian 41,489 51,786 24.8
White 542,437 585,831 8.0
2,892,243 3,667,842 26.8
% of Total

Black African 31.7 39.4
Coloured 48.1 43.2
Indian/Asian 1.4 1.4
White 18.8 16.0
100.0 100.0
Census 2011


Housing and Access to Electricity, Water and Sanitation

Between 1996 and 2011:

  •  the percentage of people living in informal dwellings in the City of Cape Town increased slightly from 19.4% to 20.5%
  •  household access to electricity for lighting and cooking has increased from 87.2% to 94% and 80.2% and 87.6% respectively.
  • access to piped water inside a dweliing or yard has fallen from 89.8% to 87.3%
  • access to a flush/chemical toilet rose slightly from 89.6% to 91.4%
  • there has been a significant increase in the percentage of female-headed households from 29.9% to 38.2%

This suggests that national and provincial governments have struggled to keep pace with the rate of population growth and housing and service access need in the City of Cape Town in the period 1996-2011.

To Cape Townships in the 21st century