Institute predicts 20% fewer white people in South Africa by 2040


BY 2040 there will be 20 per cent fewer white people living in South Africa than in 2010, a new report by the South African Institute of Race Relations has predicted.

The steady decline of the white population living in the country, about 4.5 million people, means that by 2015 coloured South Africans (those of mixed race) will be the second largest race grouping after Africans. At present there are just under 4.5 million coloured people in South Africa.

Government has estimated that as many as one million white South Africans have left their homeland since the end of apartheid in 1994, with many citing a lack of opportunity under the new regime, and crime, as their reasons for leaving.

However, emigration is not the only factor leading to the reduction in numbers, said the race relations institute.

“The decline in the white and Indian populations is attributed to a combination of low fertility rates and higher emigration rates. The white population group has emigrated on a larger scale than other race groups, although a slowdown is foreseen,” said author Thuthukani Ndebele.

It is the 24-35 age group in the white population who make up the majority of those leaving, while a large number of elderly whites stay because of better access to private healthcare and a relatively high standard of living.

The African population in South Africa is expected to continue growing over the coming decades, but the impact of HIV/Aids and increased infertility will slow down their growth rate.

The report, which was based on the findings of a 2008 Actuarial Society of South Africa project, also outlined the biggest killer in in each of the country’s racial groups.

The leading cause of death among Africans is tuberculosis (TB), a disease closely associated with people who suffer from HIV/Aids. This is followed by influenza and pneumonia, and intestinal infectious diseases such as cholera. Coloured people die predominately from TB, white people from heart disease and Indian people from diabetes.

Lerato Moloi of the research department at the institute said that when looking at the causes of death for each population group, it is important to note that socioeconomic conditions play a significant role. “Heart disease is often linked to unhealthy lifestyles associated with middle and upper-class living standards, whereas intestinal infectious diseases, such as cholera, are typically associated with poor living standards, ”she said.