Here are 10 random facts, with some commentary, for your interest, gleaned from the latest population statistics and the demographic and health survey. If you have the facts, you can then come up with your own alternative facts. Or interpretations. Sometimes it helps to first know what’s really what. And, for the student of psychology (or art, gender studies, sociology, or other humanities) who doesn’t yet know what they are going to do next year, there is bunch of questions for Honours, Masters and PhD studies that could be derived from these here non-fake facts.
1. The mid-2017 population is estimated to be 56,52 million, with about 29,6% of the population aged younger than 15 years and 8,1% 60 years or older, while females account for approximately 51% of the population.
We are still growing, in different ways, and the future is female, but if you can get past a certain dangerous age, you can have a relatively longish life. There is an upside and a not so rosy side to this whole picture. The upside is that we may have more youthful talent, and amazing stuff can happen if young people have ideas and are allowed to fail fast so that they can get to the super achievements. We may have more equality (hope is alive) and a better society, not only because we will be rid of the Zuptas (hope is audacious, a famous man said), but because the young will take democratic relationships and institutions for granted as well as treasure them so much more if they are jeorpadised. The not so great side shows that we need (and are unlikely to get) a vastly expanded and qualitatively different education system, more quality jobs, more resources, less waste in using the available resources, water being a critical one, smarter infrastructure to unlock our roads, productivity, and health, we need greener cities where we can walk or cycle work. Now contrast this picture of population growth rates with the negative growth rates in countries such as Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Japan: there are lessons, and no easy answers.
2. If fertility were to remain constant at current levels, a woman would bear an average of 2.6 children in her lifetime.
This figure in my view is rather high – one child is one too many – principally because as a society we give inadequate care of our young, given the number of vulnerable children, including orphaned and child-headed households, children living without a biological father in the household, and the level of violence against and between children. Shouldn’t women reconsider having children with men seeing men don’t seem to want to be fully and emotionally involved with raising their own children? Shouldn’t men accept that they really don’t want children if they can’t fully commit to raising them? It is, in my view, positive that a significant of married women or women in marriage-like relationships report that they do not want any more children. I think they should talk to those women and women who are not married. I have a beautiful son, but someone should have pinned us down until we got what it really takes to raise a child.
3. Among adults age 15-49 years, 17% of men and 5% of women reported having two or more sexual partners in the past year.
We are a poly-amorous society, sort of. But the double standard is alive and sweaty. The question is not why are more men than women having more than one sexual partner. It’s why only 5% women between 15-49 are having more than one sexual partner? But a more interesting question is, who are these men having sex with?
4. 45% of women and 55% of men age 15-49 report having sex in the past 12 months with a partner who was neither their spouse nor lived with them. Among these respondents, 60% of women and 68% of men report that they used a condom during their last sexual intercourse with this partner.
No WOW. This is US. We all know we have been having it. And reading from other data, I suspect this may be an underestimate. So shall we accept that as a nation we like sex with ‘others’, move on from Cyril Ramaphosa, Buhle Mkhize, Jacob Zuma and any other so-called ‘the Other Woman’. Takes two to tango, and a repressed Calvinist public to enjoy.
5. 58% of women and 65% of men who had multiple partners in the past year report that they used a condom during their last sexual intercourse.
The new scented government-issue condoms are not only well-perfumed, but well-lubricated too. They should be recommended on prime time tv. Perhaps the numbers will shoot up if they were well-advertised. Now see 6.
6. The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate is approximately 12,6%. The total number of people living with HIV is estimated at approximately 7,06 million in 2017. For adults aged 15–49 years, an estimated 18,0% of the population is HIV positive.
Ouch. See 5.
7. 59% of women and 45% of men age 15-49 report that they were tested for HIV and received their result in the past 12 months.
HIV is a very serious problem. See 5 and 6. That’s all one needs to say. Prevention and testing are important.
8. 16% of women age 15-19 in South Africa have begun childbearing and has remained unchanged since 1998.
This is one for people who sometimes say things like, “too many children and young people having children”. Well, turn out they are correct. But there is no perfect age to have children. At the same time, the teenage years are rather young to have children. The most important reason for not having children even while you may be at your most fertile is that you are highly unlikely to have an independent income. You need money to raise children, though money is only one of the things you need. I would like to say, maturity helps. I want to understand maturity to indicate a quality that goes far beyond chronological age.
9. While 1 in 5 women is severely obese, 3% of men are severely obese. Severe obesity is most common among coloured women (26%), followed by black women (20%, Indian/Asian (18%) and white women (15%). In the case of men, the prevalence of severe obesity is 14% for white men, 7% for coloured men, and only 2% for black men.
10. Life expectancy at birth for 2017 is estimated at 61,2 years for males and 66,7 years for females.
Keep calm, stay healthy, use a condom, and stay alive.