Zimbabwean population in South Africa surges to over one million: Census 2022 report

The Embassy of Zimbabwe earlier this month said around 10 000 Zimbabweans had applied for assistance to return home when the special dispensation was set to end in June. File Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency(ANA)
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Stats SA has confirmed that during the February 2022 Census, every individual in South Africa, including foreign nationals, was accounted for.

The recent report indicates a modest rise in the population of individuals born outside of South Africa.

The data reveals that the majority of these foreign nationals are male young adults, aged between 20-44.

A significant portion of them come from five countries: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, and the United Kingdom (UK). Notably, these countries have retained their rankings since the 2011 Census.

Breakdown of foreign nationals in the 2022 Census:

– Zimbabwe: 1.012 million (45%)

– Mozambique: 416,564 (18.7%)

– Lesotho: 227,770 (10.2%)

– Malawi: 198,807 (8.9%)

– UK: 61,282 (2.8%)

Addressing the complexities of documented versus undocumented immigrants, Calvin Molongoana, the Census project director at Stats SA, emphasised that every individual present in South Africa in February of the previous year was included in the count.

This encompasses tourists and those in transit. “Anyone within the country’s borders, regardless of their legal status, documented or undocumented, was counted,” Molongoana stated.

However, he clarified that members of the diplomatic corps and other diplomatic officials were excluded, as they are recorded by their respective nations.

On the topic of migration patterns, Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke highlighted that the Western Cape, Northern Cape, North West, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga provinces experienced “positive net-migration.”

This indicates that these provinces saw more incoming migration than outgoing. Conversely, Limpopo recorded the highest negative net-migration, closely followed by the Eastern Cape.

In terms of “lifetime in-migration” – where individuals have remained in a province since birth – Gauteng emerged at the forefront with 5.18 million people. The Western Cape followed with 2.04 million residents.