Population Dynamics

The areas in the south of the BR are functionally part of the Cape Town Metropolitan area, while other settlements are spatially distinct, as indicated in figure 10.

In 2003 the population within the CWCBR was over 250 000. This population was essentially urban (96% by census definition) and growing rapidly. The southern component of the Biosphere Reserve alone accounts for about 65% of the total population, and contains the main areas of urban expansion plus a number of fast-growing informal settlements. This is the main population driver of the region.
A population projection to 2010 was undertaken, using low, medium and high growth scenarios as indicated below and allowing for differential growth rates between different areas. (Average annual growth rates are low 4.5%, medium 6.5% and high 8.5%). The medium growth scenario results in a total population of the CWCBR of over 430 000 by 2010.

Characteristics of the population

The population of the CWCBR is diverse, with large differences in characteristics between areas and population groups. The main socioeconomic characteristics of the population are:

  • Over 60% of the CWCBR population is younger than 35 years of age.• The average household size in the CWCBR is 3.65, with a range from 2.7 in Milnerton to 6.3 in Malmesbury.
  • There are enormous disparities in individual income, from R900 per month in Witsand to almost R12400 per month in Melkbosstrand, as indicated in figure 7. (The category “leisure” includes holiday towns — Langebaan, Jakkalsfontein etc).
  • Unemployment levels range from 3% in the “rural” areas to 54% in Du Noon. There is also a wide range of level of economic activity from 46% in Llinge Lethu to 81% in Witsand.
  • The main reason for unemployment is the inability to find work, and is given as such in 12% to 82% in the areas in the CWCBR.
  • Education levels also have a direct bearing on employment and socioeconomic status. The three groups with the highest education levels are also the groups with the highest reported incomes.
  • Back yard and freestanding informal dwellings are a significant proportion of dwellings in some areas.
  • Access to services is generally high, but some informal areas do not have access to sanitation or electricity yet.


Urban-rural distribution

The 2001 Census data indicates that the population in the CWCBR area is overwhelmingly rural. Only 2% of the population resides in areas defined as “rural” in terms of the Census definition. The low figure is attributable in part to the mechanisation of agriculture and the urbanisation of farm workers.

Population and settlements

The population within the CWCBR is concentrated in a number of towns and villages, apart from the south where the Tableview / Blouberg Sands area is part of the Cape Town Metropole. The 2001 Census data was analysed at main and sub-place place level (see population characteristics sub-project) and aggregated into 17 groups by main place and function. All the groups based on main places are made up of sub-places that are either contiguous, or are at least in close proximity to each other. However the area group “Leisure” includes all towns that are predominantly second-dwellings, but are not contiguous. The group “Rural” includes all “non-urban” areas that are also not contiguous.

Population Growth

The population for the CWCBR was projected to 2010 using a high, medium and low growth scenario. The projection utilised different growth rates for each area group. The average overall annual growth rates for each scenario are: high – 9.6%, medium – 6.7% and low – 4.6%. The rural and outlying areas are assumed to grow at a lower rate than the urban areas. The growth rates in the high scenario should be compared to the annual rates that exceeded 35% and 50% for Blouberg and Milnerton, and the growth of the whole CWCBR of 9.3% and 5.3% for the 80-90 and 90-2000 decades. The projection spread for 2010 is from 376 000 for the low growth scenario to 500 000 for the high growth scenario. It should be noted that the low growth scenario is only 1% above the Provincial average growth rate. This scenario is likely only under conditions where new growth is severely restricted.

The projections are illustrated below

Figure 1: Population projections for the CWCBR to 2010
Figure 2: Settlements


Land consumption is a major factor in the destruction of habitats and loss of indigenous vegetation. It is a complex process that is directly influenced by:

  • Household formation, that in turn is directly influenced by population increase, as well as a number of other social and cultural factors.
  • Availability of housing and services. These factors influence land consumption for informal settlements and the transformation of informal to formal settlements
  • Cost of land and housing. The density of housing is influenced both land and service costs, and the cost of the dwelling.
  • Transportation costs. This influences land costs and land use.
  • The planning framework – that sets some limits on erven sizes and the spatial structure of growth.
  • These factors are all in turn influenced at the household and aggregate level by income and the performance of the economy. Increased household income is correlated with increased land consumption, as are higher levels of economic growth.

African cities, including Cape Town, exhibit land consumption through a combination of informal settlement expansion, formalisation and the suburban land conversion process. This leads to wide disparities in the average consumption of land between rich and poor. This process is dynamic and results in a net increase in land consumption over time.

Households moving from informal to formal areas consume more land on a net basis by occupying larger residential erven, and on a gross basis as additional land in the form of roads, parks and other land uses also increases.

Households tend to move to larger erven within formal areas as their disposable income increases

Single households are an increasing proportion of all households and consume more land on a per capita basis than multiple households

Within the CWCBR, population is increasing rapidly (see above). (See – An analysis of new erven in Cape Town CMCA, 2000). In relation to the Milnerton area it finds: “In 1985 there were 122 new erven and in 1999 there were 1465 new erven. Between the periods of 1985 – 1992 and 1992 – 1999 the compound growth rate of approved erven for this allotment area increased by 13.3% and 17.9%, respectively. This growth can be attributed to a number of factors being (a) better value for money of housing market prices than in the southern suburbs, (b) A lower crime rate than the southern suburbs, (c) a high growth in Commercial and Industrial activity”. It concludes “Although this method lacks sophistication it does indicate the major growth points are north of Table View and Durbanville as well as the Philippi Area”

The implications of changes in land consumption patterns for the CWCBR are that additional land would be necessary even if the population was static. The scenario of large population increases coupled with improved socioeconomic conditions will lead to the demand for significant additional land for development within the CWCBR.

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