Demographic Dynamics of South Africa’s Youth: Still Searching for the Demographic Dividend

Nompumelelo Nzimande, University of KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa is in the latter stages of the first demographic transition (FDT) – yet already depicts aspects of the second transition. South Africa’s youth are at the centre of this transition. The population census of 2011 show an age structure of South Africa that is characterised by a larger proportion of 15-35 year olds (37.6% of the total population). This age structure, with adequate investments - is expected to yield a period of economic growth resulting from reduced dependency ratio. However, improved health care, investments in human development and higher employment opportunities are required to harness the benefit. This paper aim to explore the national and provincial preparedness of South African youth to contribute to economic growth of the country. In particular, we will focus on past, present and future demographic factors such as sex ratio; youth mortality and morbidity; and youth fertility levels as these factors are highly correlated with human development.

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  Presented in Session 41. African Models for The Demographic Dividend – Practical Interventions, Lessons and Policy Options