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South Africa Facts and Figures from Encarta
Basic Facts
Official name Republic of South Africa
Pretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judicial)
Area 1,219,090 sq km
470,693 sq mi
South Africa
Population 42,768,678 (2003 estimate)
Population growth
Population growth rate 0.01 percent (2003 estimate)
Projected population in 2025 34,045,336 (2025 estimate)
Projected population in 2050 30,955,486 (2050 estimate)
Population density 35 persons per sq km (2003 estimate)
91 persons per sq mi (2003 estimate)
Urban/rural distribution
Share urban 58 percent (2001 estimate)
Share rural 42 percent (2001 estimate)
Largest cities, with population
Cape Town 2,727,000 (1995 estimate)
Durban 669,242 (1996)
Johannesburg 752,349 (1996)
Pretoria 692,348 (1996)
Port Elizabeth 692,348 (1996)
Ethnic groups
Africans/Black 77 percent
White 11 percent
Coloureds/mixed race 9 percent
Indians/Asians 2 percent
Others 1 percent
11 official languages: Afrikaans and English (European origin); Zulu, Xhosa, siSwati, and Ndebele (Nguni language group); Southern Sotho, Northern Sotho, and Tswana (Sotho language group); Tsonga; Venda
Religious affiliations
Black Independent Churches 46 percent
Protestant 31 percent
Roman Catholic 8 percent
Anglican 7 percent
Hindu 2 percent
Muslim 2 percent
Nonreligious 2 percent
Other 2 percent
Health and Education
Life expectancy
Total 46.6 years (2003 estimate)
Female 46.5 years (2003 estimate)
Male 46.6 years (2003 estimate)
Infant mortality rate 61 deaths per 1,000 live births (2003 estimate)
Population per physician 1,776 people (1996)
Population per hospital bed Not available
Literacy rate
Total 86.4 percent (2003 estimate)
Female 85.7 percent (2003 estimate)
Male 87 percent (2003 estimate)
Education expenditure as a share of gross national product (GNP) 5.9 percent (1999-2000)
Number of years of compulsory schooling 9 years (2000)
Number of students per teacher, primary school 35 students per teacher (1999-2000)
Form of government Republic
Head of state President
Head of government President
Legislature Bicameral legislature
National Assembly: 400 members
National Council of Provinces: 90 senators
Voting qualifications Universal at age 18
Constitution February 1997
Highest court Supreme Court, Constitutional Court
Armed forces South African National Defense Force
Total number of military personnel 60,000 (2001)
Military expenditures as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) 1.7 percent (2001)
First-level political divisions Nine provinces
Gross domestic product (GDP, in U.S.$) $113.3 billion (2001)
GDP per capita (U.S.$) $2,620 (2001)
GDP by economic sector
Agriculture, forestry, fishing 3.2 percent (2001)
Industry 31.2 percent (2001)
Services 65.6 percent (2001)
Number of workers 17,213,844 (2001)
Workforce share of economic sector
Agriculture, forestry, fishing 14 percent (1990)
Industry 48 percent (1993)
Services 52 percent (1993)
Unemployment rate 23.3 percent (1999)
National budget (U.S.$)
Total revenue $34,179 million (2000)
Total expenditure $37,283 million (2000)
Monetary unit
1 rand (R), consisting of 100 cents
Chemical products, petroleum and coal products, processed food and beverages, transportation equipment, iron and steel
Gold, platinum, uranium, diamonds, coal, iron ore, copper, nickel, manganese
Major exports
Gold, nonindustrial diamonds, mineral products, manufactured goods, vegetables, prepared foodstuffs
Major imports
Machinery, transportation equipment, chemical products, crude oil, clothing, textiles
Major trade partners for exports
United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Netherlands
Major trade partners for imports
Germany, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Saudi Arabia
Energy, Communications, and Transportation
Electricity production
Electricity from thermal sources 93.47 percent (2001 estimate)
Electricity from hydroelectric sources 1.05 percent (2001 estimate)
Electricity from nuclear sources 5.48 percent (2001 estimate)
Electricity from geothermal, solar, and wind sources 0 percent (2001 estimate)
Number of radios per 1,000 people 355 (1997)
Number of telephones per 1,000 people 112 (2001)
Number of televisions per 1,000 people 126 (2000 estimate)
Number of Internet hosts per 10,000 people 54 (2001)
Daily newspaper circulation per 1,000 people 30 (1996)
Number of motor vehicles per 1,000 people 143 (1999)
Paved road as a share of total roads 20 percent (2000)
Basic Facts and People sections
Area data are from the statistical bureaus of individual countries. Population, population growth rate, and population projections are from the United States Census Bureau, International Programs Center, International Data Base (IDB) (www.census.gov). Urban and rural population data are from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), FAOSTAT database (www.fao.org). Largest cities population data and political divisions data are from the statistical bureaus of individual countries. Ethnic divisions and religion data are largely from the latest Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook and from various country censuses and reports. Language data are largely from the Ethnologue, Languages of the World, Summer Institute of Linguistics International (www.sil.org).
Health and Education section
Life expectancy and infant mortality data are from the United States Census Bureau, International Programs Center, International database (IDB) (www.census.gov). Population per physician and population per hospital bed data are from the World Health Organization (WHO) (www.who.int). Education data are from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) database (www.unesco.org).
Government section
Government, independence, legislature, constitution, highest court, and voting qualifications data are largely from various government Web sites, the latest Europa World Yearbook, and the latest Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook. The armed forces data is from Military Balance.
Economy section
Gross domestic product (GDP), GDP per capita, GDP by economic sectors, employment, and national budget data are from the World Bank database (www.worldbank.org). Monetary unit, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, exports, imports, and major trade partner information is from the latest Europa World Yearbook and various International Monetary Fund (IMF) publications.
Energy, Communication, and Transportation section
Electricity information is from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) database (www.eia.doe.gov). Radio, telephone, television, and newspaper information is from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) database (www.unesco.org). Internet hosts, motor vehicles, and road data are from the World Bank database (www.worldbank.org).
Figures may not total 100 percent due to rounding.