South Africa’s past is inexplicably linked to racial policies which created a separated racial landscape that was consequently reflected in the cities and towns in South Africa. This city designed around racial separation became known as the apartheid city. Since the early nineties there no longer existed any measures that prevented people to move to or live in any area. Although diversity is about more than just race it is also necessary to reflect on the extent of racial change since 1994. The following indicator considers the extent that areas changed in their racial dominance.


This indicator considers four types of change used to reflect how racial diversity has evolved between 1996 and 2011. It considers the numbers of people per race group and compares this to that same area (sub-place) for the later period.

Insights & Findings

Considering the mapping, it can be observed that significant racial change has occurred in the various cities. The more established older middle- and high income areas does not reflect as much change but the more recent growth or expansion areas seem to be where the racial mix is greater. There are also several sub-places where the dominant race group has changed. Overall a very different landscape is emerging.


The above item is the result of measuring the extent of change in the racial composition of sub-places. The result is four groups:

  • Areas where a switch has occurred in race and the dominant group has changed.
  • Then areas that has had a diverse mix of races and which have remained diverse
  • Areas where you find a group dominating with more that 66% but where the trend is towards becoming more diverse.
  • Lastly areas where you find a group dominating with more that 66% but where there do not seem to be any strong trends of change.

The metadata document can be accessed here.

Other Resources

  • CSIR BE. 2015. Indicator – Racial diversity 2011. (Prepared in support of SACN – State of the Cities Report 2015).

For more information contact:

Johan Maritz,

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