A metropolitan municipality provides all the functions of local government for a city or conurbation. Out of the 287 municipalities in South Africa, eight are metros.

Metros are growing twice as fast as other cities and towns and also have higher (+/- 40%) average incomes compared to the country as a whole. Since 1996, employment has grown twice as fast in metros than elsewhere – and they account for three- quarters of all net jobs created in the country.

71.3% of South Africa’s population will live in urban areas by 2030.

Three of the metros are in Gauteng

Johannesburg, Tshwane (Pretoria) and Ekurhuleni (Germiston)

Two are in Eastern Cape

Buffalo City (East London) and Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth)

The other three are

The City of Cape Town, eThekwini (Durban) and Mangaung (Bloemfontein)

Population by province


Life expectancy

Life expectancy for South Africans in 2016 is estimated at 60.6 years for males and 64.3 years for females.


About 30.2% of the population is younger than 15 years and 64% of South Africa’s youth live in urban areas.


There are more women than men in the country: approximately 51% (approximately 28.07 million) of the population is female.


Migration is an important demographic process in shaping the age structure and distribution of the provincial population.

From 2011 to 2016 it is estimated that approximately 243 118 people will have migrated from Eastern Cape and Limpopo is estimated to experience an out-migration of nearly 303 151 people. During the same period, Gauteng and Western Cape are estimated to experience an inflow of migrants of approximately 1 169 837 and 350 569 respectively.

Growth of South African cities: 1950–2015