South Africa, with an estimated population of 56.5 million people, is up by 1.61 per cent from the 55.91 million in 2016, Statistics South Africa said on Monday.
In its 2017 mid-year population estimates, the agency said the growth rate of elderly people, those aged 60 years or more, showed the highest rate of increase at three per cent.
According to the statistics, nearly a third of the population is younger than 15 years.
In February, the National Treasury said it would spend nearly 900 billion rand (69 billion dollars) on social services, more than two-thirds of total government expenditure.
Social services such as old-age, child support, and unemployment grants worth 180 billion rand.
South Africa’s economy has been downgraded to “junk” by two out of three major ratings agencies, while unemployment stand at around 28 per cent, a 14-year high.
The economy slid into technical recession in March.
Analysts expect Treasury to struggle to raise the tax revenue it needs to keep paying welfare grants. (Reuters/NAN)