MVP Sustainability Map

South Africa


Sustainability Grade




Sustainable Population

54.0 %

Contraception Use


Species Threatened

1.27 %

Population Growth

$ 5,656

GDP Per Capita

Country Comments

South Africa has roughly three times more citizens than can be maintained sustainably. Pollution, deforestation, desertification and water scarcity are major environmental and human health problems impacting South Africa. The country relies on burning coal for 80% of its electricity use and its resulting air pollution. Mining is a large industry in South Africa with massive mountains of toxic tailings that infiltrate water supplies downstream.

Although fertility rates have been gradually declining, South Africa is growing by over three quarters of a million more people annually.

UNFPA reported in 2019 that South Africa has had some recent key successes in its attempts to improve reproductive health services overall and to a broader representation of the population, which will empower more women and reduce population growth pressure. Gender equality still has a long way to go with as much as 51 percent of South African women having experienced violence at the hands of someone with whom they were in an intimate relationship. The President described violence against girls and women as South Africa's “second pandemic,” after the coronavirus, and called on residents to end the culture of silence around gender-based violence. (1)