Today’s South Africa by the Numbers (with Photos)

Population of South Africa: 51 million (slightly larger than South Korea)

Annual Gross Domestic Product (nominal): $384 billion (in neighborhood of Taiwan, Austria, UAE)

Rank among world economies: 29

Rank among African economies: 1

Amount GDP has grown since end of white rule in 1994: 3 times

Number of people added to middle class in past ten years: 10 million

DSCN1671 View of Pretoria from the grounds of the Union Buildings

Annual per capita income: $7500 (like Colombia, Azerbaijan, Romania)

Increase in annual GDP per capita since end of white rule in 1994: 40%

Nicer part of Soweto, 2012

Adult literacy rate: 89%

Percentage of the economy accounted for by industry: 15%


Number of major labor strikes in 2012: 99 (a five-year high)

Projected economic growth 2013: 2.7%

Annual CO2 emissions: 500 million metric tons (5th in world per capita)

Percentage of the population that lives in cities? 62%, almost two-thirds.

Johannesburg, 2012

Percentage of South Africans below the poverty line? 31%

Poor part of Soweto

Average life expectancy at birth: 55

Percentage of the population that is white: 9%

Percentage of the population that is Christian: 80%


Number of Muslims in South Africa: 750,000 (mainly from India but with some conversions).

Number of Hindus in South Africa: 650,000

(Photos by Juan Cole, August, 2012)


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