Linking Population Dynamics to Municipal Revenue Allocation in South African Cities

The relationship between population and development is recognised by various governments. In order to measure progress on socio-economic development, indicators are required. The traditional source of population figures at lower geographical levels is the census. However, census figures are outdated immediately they are released since planners require population figures for the present and possibly for the future. In an attempt to meet the demand for current population figures, many organisations produce mid-year population estimates and projections. Statistics South Africa produces mid-year estimates at national and provincial levels but these estimates often do not meet the needs of local administrators.


Some of South Africa’s population are concentrated in cities or metros. Cities play a key role in the economic development of any country. Population dynamics in South African cities have financial implications. For efficient allocation of scarce resources, there is a need for revenue optimisation to meet the increasing demands and maintenance of public services and infrastructure driven by population growth in South African cities. In order to achieve this, accurate and reliable information about population dynamics is required to inform planning for city services and infrastructure demand as well as revenue assessment. In view of the above, the overall aim of this study is to develop indicators and provide population figures arising from population dynamics and characteristics as well as determine their municipal finance effects. Thus, this study has two broad components – demographic analysis and financial analysis. Several data sets and methods were utilised in order to achieve the objectives of this study. The results were compared across the 9 focus cities of the South African Cities Network (City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane, City of Ekurhuleni, eThekwini Metro, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Mangaung Metro, City of Cape Town, Msunduzi and Buffalo City).