PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (7): 1167-1176.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.07.019

• Socio-Cultural Geography • Previous Articles    

Spatial pattern of population and its evolution in South Africa during 1996-2011

GAO Chao1,2,3, JIN Fengjun1,2, FU Juan4, LIU He1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    4. School of Economics, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2013-02-01 Revised:2013-06-01 Online:2013-07-25 Published:2013-07-25

Abstract: South Africa is China's largest trading partner and investment destination in Africa, especially in infrastructure construction. Study of the spatial distribution of South Africa's population is of great significance to the cooperation of the two countries. Based on the census data from 1996 to 2011, this paper describes the spatial pattern and evolving trend of the diverse population of South Africa with time series and cross section data between 1996 and 2011 at county level, based on population density analysis, spatial autocorrelation analysis, population gravity center model, shift-share analysis, and unbalanced index. Using the software platform of ArcGIS and OpenGeoDa, conclusions are made as follows. (1) Population density of South Africa has "high on east and low on west" features, and also has multicore clustering characteristics in metropolitan areas and port cities. (2) Population density varies significantly in different regions. Metropolitan areas and coastal port cities have high population densities, while central and western regions have low population densities. (3) In terms of trend in population change, population distribution in South Africa became more and more imbalanced from 1996 to 2011. The gravity center of population moves to the northwest of South Africa since 1996. (4) Shift-share analysis shows population growth rate have undergone "high-low-high" stages for the last 15 years. At provincial level, Gauteng andWestern Cape have been always the places with dense populations.

Key words: evolution, population distribution, South Africa, spatial pattern