The state of the Mpumalanga population

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
TITLE AUTHOR(S): Z.Khuzwayo, O.Arowolo, T.Twalo, S.Ngandu, B.Bitso, M.Makiwane
DEPARTMENT: Economic Perfomance and Development (EPD), Human and Social Development (HSD), Research Use and Impact Assessment (RIA), Research Use and Impact Assessment (PRESS), Research Use and Impact Assessment (CC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9062

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The aim of the project is to compile a comprehensive State of the Population Report that will place emphasis on sustainable human development attained through integrating population issues into plans and programmes. A special emphasis was put on the youth bulge, and the importance of the province to take advantage of the Youth Dividend. Mpumalanga, like the rest of South Africa, is experiencing a youth bulge as a result of the demographic transition that is underway. Demographic transition is a result of a movement from high to low mortality and fertility rates in a society. Demographic transition has been experienced by most parts of the world and is currently being experienced in some parts of Asia and Africa. This phenomenon is a result of decline in fertility and mortality which results in the population experiencing a drastic change in its structure. In societies that are having a demographic transition, the proportion of older person is low due to a historical high mortality, on the other hand the proportion of children is also low due to an experience of a decline in the rate of childbearing that happens during the transition. One of the paradoxical phenomena associated with demographic transition is that in spite of a decline in fertility, population continues to grow. The reason which makes the population to rise in the wake of a fertility decline can be explained by the change of the population structure. During this period, the bulk of the population in this period is within the reproduction ages. Thus, in spite of the fact that the majority are not giving birth to many children, the population growth momentum has been built via the changes in the population structure, resulting in a sustained growth in population. The growth of the youth population in society during this period gives a window of opportunity for a demographic dividend. If the majority of these young people are employed, the economy benefits greatly as a large number of working people support a relatively low number of persons in the economically dependable young and old ages. At a national level, the state reaps benefit from a large tax base as a result of the increase in the working population, thus laying solid grounds for a faster investment on economic growth. Similarly, households benefit as working adults are supporting financially fewer children and fewer older persons. Thus, this report tracks down the current state of the population in Mpumalanga. Thus it gives a synopsis of the progression of the population in relation to a demographic transition. More importantly, it makes a population projection which show that the window of opportunity that is opened by demographic dividend will continue for a number of years into the future. With this evidence, the study suggests concrete policies and programmes that will lead to a realistic chance of a demographic dividend being realised in the region.