World Population Day: Department projects provincial population to grow to 7.3-m | Western Cape Government


World Population Day: Department projects provincial population to grow to 7.3-m

12 July 2017

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has developed comprehensive population projections for the province. This data helps government to plan for expanded services.

The population projections show that the overall population in the province is expected to grow from 5.83-million as recorded in the 2011 Census, to 7.36-million by the year 2040.

This represents an increase of 1.53-million people at an average annual increase of approximately 0.81% from the 2011 census figures to 2040.

The projections have implications for the Department’s services to four priority groups: children, youth, and people with disabilities and older persons.

Of great interest is that the projections show how the Western Cape’s population is expected to age significantly over the next three decades. Reasons for this include good public healthcare, as well as in-migration to the province.

When looked at in detail, the Western Cape’s largest age group at the moment is people between 14 – 29 years old. As we move towards 2020, there is a shift, and the ageing trend leads to growth in the 25 – 39 year old age groups, with a boom in the number of children.

Going into the year 2030 and 2040, there are significant increases in the older age groups, including persons reaching pension/retirement age.

The projections go into further detail, and also provide a breakdown of population in each of the provinces regions.

The figure below shows that the West Coast is expected to experience the highest rate of population growth, followed by Overberg. The City of Cape Town Metro is expected to experience the lowest rate of population growth, mainly because it is growing from a higher population base than more rural areas.

The overall average growth rate of the five District Municipalities, excluding the City of Cape Town, would be higher than 0.81%, as the low growth in the City of Cape Town drags the average down considerably.

This data is instructive in guiding the Department’s spending and service priorities into the future.

DSD has already begun to expand our reach to meet the needs of an ever-growing population. DSD’s footprint has grown from what was a head office and 16 district offices in 2009, to 1 head office overseeing 6 regional offices and a network of 40 local offices.

Details on the future expansion of our priority service categories are as follows:


The projected growth in the population of children affirms the Department’s ever increasing investment into services for children.

This financial year we’ve allocated R651.5-million for the provision of Early Childhood Development (ECD), child protection services and Child & Youth Care Facilities, amongst other services.

The key developments going into the future will be:

  • Rolling out the Provincial Foster Care Plan and strengthening the capacity of foster care parents (with a focus on foster parents for disabled children),
  • Strengthening child protection and care services by expanding the current 1510 social work professionals within the department, and adding to our current 1012 social workers in funded NGO partners,
  • Strengthening Family Programmes by expanding services on mediation for families.


The Department continues to grow services to people with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities. As the population grows, our efforts will include:

  • Increasing the 2400 bed spaces for children and adults with intellectual disabilities
  • Increasing subsidies to residential facilities for People with Disabilities
  • Expanding audits for universal access to buildings for people with disabilities.


The province currently has a population of 2.1-million young people. An estimated 13%, or 277 160, are classified as ‘Not in Employment, Education and Training’ (NEETs).

DSD efforts for young people continue to revolve around the extension of opportunity to youth. Central to this plan are the Youth Cafés. The Department has launched 7 Youth Cafés, and plans are afoot to expand the network to 10 by the end of the year.

Broadly, the Province has prioritised Apprenticeships, quality After Schools programming and eLearning as Game Changers.

Older Persons

The projected growth of persons over the age of 60 will place great strain on social welfare infrastructure. As older persons increasingly become less independent and frailer, this will place upward pressure on residential facilities. Heading into the future the Department will:

  • Strengthen and increase “independent and assisted living” for older persons
  • Expand registrations and training for care givers who care for older persons
  • Continue with registration of Private residential facilities and community centres for older persons.
  • Increase awareness on abuse of older persons.

As we mark World Population Day, DSD will continue to use the projection figures to guide our expansion and delivery to the provincial population. The Department has availed the data to other Provincial Departments for their own planning purposes.

Media Enquiries: 

Sihle Ngobese

Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development

Western Cape Government

7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000

Tel : (021) 483 9217

Cell :  076 083 6543

Email :