Map Monday: The most racially segregated and integrated major cities in SA

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Think you live in a city where people of all races are fairly integrated and an example of a Rainbow Nation? You may have to think again.

The Group Areas Act of 1950 (later amended in 1957 and 1966) is responsible for the way almost all South African residential and business districts look today, with a concentration of certain races in one area, e.g blacks in townships and whites in suburbs.

But since its abolishing in 1991, how has the South African landscape changed particularly in cities and which ones are the most and least racially integrated?

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has published a series of maps that illustrate the patterns of racial neighbourhood integration and segregation across South Africa’s largest municipalities.

StatsSA used the latest population data available through the 2011 Census to map where people of different races lives and according to results, Johannesburg is (unsurprisingly) the most integrated city out of six.

According to the organisation, a number of general characteristics occur in nearly all the maps. Namely:

  • The central business districts (CBDs) have a high percentage of black African residents
  • The CBDs are surrounded by suburbs that have a high percentage of white residents
  • The high density townships – dominated by black African, coloured or Indian/Asian residents – are disconnected from the CBD
  • Racial mixing seems to be occurring mostly in previously white-dominated neighbourhoods

StatsSA used a scale between zero and one to score each city, o representing complete integration and one representing complete segregation.


You can check out all the maps below (open images in new tab to enlarge). Note which dots represent which race and see if you can spot your neighbourhood.

Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth)

The most racially segregated city/municipality.


eThekwini (Durban)


Cape Town





Tshwane (Pretoria)




“If we look beyond the six largest cities and consider all 234 local municipalities, Overstrand municipality [in the Western Cape] is the most racially segregated, according to the General Household Survey report,” StatsSA said.

You can also have a look at a similar map complied by Adrian Frith which narrows down population distribution across race, language and household income.

[Source – StatsSA, image – CC Wikimedia Commons]



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