The demographics of the city, and how they are changing over time, are important indicators for measuring service delivery and human development. Strong migratory inflows into an area, over and above the internal population growth, can have a considerable impact on the delivery of social services.
The increase in the number of people living in Johannesburg stretches the ability of the City to deliver in terms of services and infrastructure.
Johannesburg's population increased by 22,2 percent over the period 1996 to 2001 compared to the national average of 10,3 percent. Johannesburg's success in creating jobs and the relatively high incomes of its inhabitants are acting as a magnet for people all over the country.
A growth in the number of households that is more rapid than population growth has significant implications for service delivery and infrastructure development, since many services are delivered to households, rather than to individuals. Good examples of these are electricity connections, indoor plumbing and housing.
Although the population growth rate was 22.2 percent, the number of households in the city increased by 39 percent, a ratio of 0,57, suggesting that household formation is increasing at roughly double the pace at which the population is growing. This places enormous pressure on delivery of services and infrastructure.
This challenge is predictable in a developing country going through an extended period of economic growth and real increases in personal income. As the income of the poorer part of the population increases, so the prevalence of large households (more than six) starts to decrease. In this way the population growth/household growth ratio can be seen as an indicator of development.
Certain poorer areas such as Doornkop/Soweto have shown a particularly strong increase in household formation. This puts even greater pressure on service delivery since the poorer the area the more dependent the inhabitants are on the public sector to provide services. In this situation it is difficult for service delivery to keep pace with the sub-division of households into separate units and this makes the provision of formal housing to all households in many respects a moving target.
The relationship between the household ratio/ranking and changes in the area's population is an important one. The poorest area of Johannesburg (Ennerdale/Orange Farm) is also the area that added the highest number of people - just over 115,000. Doornkop/Soweto showed the third highest absolute increase in population (just over 83 000), but is the third poorest. In fact the six poorest areas showed a population increase of 348 861, compared to just 210 106 for the five richest. (The middle area is Diepsloot/ Fourways, with a relatively low absolute increase).
This suggests that a significant number of migrants into the city have limited resources and assets at their disposal and so are moving to the poorer areas with the lowest infrastructure levels. Poorer migrants are likely to place relatively high demands on the City for delivery of services. The demographic profile of migrants moving into the city is critically important in these terms, and in terms of skills levels - which to some extent dictate the ease with which migrants may or may not be absorbed into the mainstream economy.
The poorest region, which has also had the highest absolute population increase, is Ennerdale/Orange Farm, where the number of formal dwellings increased by more than 100 percent from 1996 to 2001. In addition, the number of new formal dwellings (30 331) was markedly higher than the additional number of employed people in the area (21 412). This suggests a significant contribution made by the public sector in the provision of housing. At the same time, the number of non-formal housing units rose by more than 14 000, to just under 50 000 units. Consequently, despite the efforts of the pubic sector in creating a significant number of new housing units in an economically depressed area, the number of people without formal housing has increased by 40 percent.
Access to electricity is a key factor in improving standards of living and an examination of data indicates a similar pattern. From 1996 to 2001, almost 30 000 additional households in the Ennerdale/Orange Farm area had access to electricity (a 58 percent increase). Once again, the demographics of the area suggest that this was due to the intervention of the public sector rather than the inhabitants themselves.
Over the same period, the number of households without access to electricity increased by more than 16 000. In 2001, an additional 13 000 households in this region had only candles as a source of lighting in their households. This was despite a massive increase in delivery by the authorities.
The point is made again when the Doornkop/Soweto region is examined. There has been a 36 percent increase (more than 40 000) in the number of households with electricity. However, the number of households without electricity or solar power has also increased - by more than 9 000 households and the number of households with access only to candles rose by more than 7 000. Although eventually the pace of delivery will catch up with the pace at which migration swells the city's population, this may take a long time and is affected by the funds available. Additionally, fast tracking of housing and other services is likely to increase migration to the city rather than decrease it, certainly in the short to medium term.
Johannesburg is not the only city demonstrating this phenomenon. Other metros experience the same general ratio between population and household growth. This is a clear indication of fairly rapid urbanisation in South Africa, across all areas, in that the rate of household growth is higher than population growth in these metros.
However, the fact that Johannesburg recorded the highest absolute increase in population as well as the highest increase in the number of households (more than 280 000 compared to 208 000 for neighbouring Ekurhuleni), suggests that the city is facing much larger service delivery challenges than other metros.
It is clear that despite a higher absolute increase in households than other metros, Johannesburg is coping fairly well with these demands relative to other areas. The City has a particularly good relative score in the provision of formal housing and water. All of South Africa's major metros face the challenge of rolling out services at a rate that can keep pace with the very rapid increase in the number of households demanding those services.
Since 1994 Johannesburg has made remarkable progress in many key areas, such as economic growth and personal income.
It has been the most important source of job creation in the country and, excluding the effect of significant migration to the city, most indicators show that the quality of life for most of Johannesburg's inhabitants has improved markedly.
While there are still significant challenges ahead, not least of which is to be able to match the pace of service delivery to household growth, the city has built an excellent and solid platform to build on over the next few years.