According to the latest data from Statistics SA, the significant rise in deaths (about 34%) in 2021 meant a drop of 3.1 years in the 2021 life expectancy at birth for SA. The data reflects the death toll between 1 July last year and 30 June this year.

“However, StatsSA said that while the life expectancy at birth indicator is an important health indicator, in this Covid period it should not be interpreted as a projection of an individual’s lifespan, but should rather be used to shed light on the cumulative burden of a crisis compared with recent trends,” reported The Citizen (20 July 2021).

Key findings of StatsSA’s mid-year population report:

• On 5 March last year, South Africa recorded its first case of Covid.

• By 11 March last year, the World Health Organisation had declared Covid to be a global pandemic.

• South Africa’s first Covid-related death occurred on 27 March last year.

• Life expectancy at birth for this year is estimated at 59.3 years for males and 64.6 years for females.

• Gauteng still comprises the largest share of the South African population, with approximately 15.81

million people (26.3%).

• KwaZulu-Natal is the province with the second largest population, with an estimated 11.5 million

people (19.1%).

• With a population of approximately 1.30 million people (2.2%), Northern Cape remains the province

with the smallest share of the South African population.

• Approximately 51.1% (about 30.75 million) of the population is female.

• Significant rise in deaths in 2021 [about 34%] meant a drop in 2021 life expectancy at birth for SA.

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