The Statistician General said this was attributed to a declining population growth amongst young people compared to the adult population.
Lehohla said this when he presented the Vulnerable Groups Series I: The Social Profile of Youth 2009 – 2014 report at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town, on Monday.
“… The main driver in the decline of the overall unemployment... has been the decline in the share of the population of the youth from 30.3% to 26.2%,” he said.
Briefing journalists on the key findings of the report, the Statistician General said while the overall population grew by 6.9% between 2009 and 2014, the youth population grew at a slower rate of 6%.
He said the provinces that recorded the highest population growth amongst the youth were Limpopo and Mpumalanga with a rate of 7.8% each.
The findings of the report showed that the biggest increase observed in youth growth over the five-year period was that of African blacks with a growth of 7.3%.
Youth among the coloured population grew by 2.9%, Indians by 1.9%, while the white population decreased by a rate of -4.2%.
The Statistician General said:
- The number of young people living below the poverty line decreased across all provinces, with Free State, Limpopo and Northern Cape leading the pack with declines of 17%, 12% and 11.6% between 2009 and 2014;
- The two leading causes of death among youth were ‘certain infectious and parasitic diseases’ (such as TB, intestinal infectious diseases, HIV, viral diseases) and ‘external causes of morbidity’ (such as car accidents, murder);
- Between 2009 and 2014, households headed by youth (15-34 years) declined slightly from 27.5% in 2009 to 26.1% in 2014;
- The share of youth amongst the employed declined by 2.9% - from 42.6% to 39.8%;
- Of about two million employed people who were classified as entrepreneurs, 543 000 were youth. However, the total share of young entrepreneurs declined by 2.6% - from 29.8% in 2009 to 27.2% in 2014.
The Statistician General said in 2014, the main sources of income in all provinces for households with youth were salaries or wages or commission at 50.8%, followed by grants (18.9%) and remittances (18.0%).
Between 2009 and 2014, the largest decline in sources of income for households with youth was observed in grants with a decrease of 1.4%, and the decline was driven by large decreases observed in Limpopo (-4.4%), KwaZulu-Natal (-2.1%) and Gauteng (-2%).
Hunger experiences in households with youth increased between 2010 (13.5%) and 2014 (16.2%).
“Achieving the demographic dividend for the black and the coloured youths [is a challenge]…The proportion of youth in the population is declining.
“The picture that we end up with in this narrative is certainly not an easy one for policy makers with regards to youth…,” Lehohla said.