Stats SA’s Long-awaited Migration Profile Report for South Africa: A Country Profile 2023

Grey skies, geopolitical uncertainty, the high cost of living and the exorbitant price of biltong abroad appear not to be strong enough pull factors for South Africa. Despite cheery anecdotal claims by estate agencies, tax practitioners and international moving companies that South Africans were returning to the country of their birth in droves, Stats SA’s evidence shows that far fewer Saffas are doing so. In fact, the rising numbers of South Africans emigrating to the UK, Australia, and the US — long favoured destinations for South African émigrés — have helped boost those country’s populations by significant percentages. Based on the latest census data, as well as data from household surveys, academic research, the World Bank, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Unesco, the SA Police Service and the departments of Home Affairs and Basic Education, the report was funded through the European Union’s Southern Africa Migration Management Project. The country’s first migration report shows the brain drain is significant and long-lasting, as reflected in the declining numbers of South Africans returning to our shores in the past decade.


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