The majority of the South African population is living in urban areas, a survey revealed on Tuesday.
The survey, conducted by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), said around two thirds of the country's population dwell in cities and suburbs. The data was compiled by the World Bank.
"The proportion of people living in urban areas increased from 52 percent in 1990 to 62 percent in 2011," the SAAIR said in a statement.
The report attributed the move, especially by blacks, to the freedom of movement granted after apartheid.
More people, including foreigners, also moved to cities in search of employment.
SAAIR researcher Thuthukani Ndebele said the fastest development was in smaller cities.
He listed Polokwane, Rustenburg, Vanderbijlpark, Nelspruit, and Ekurhuleni as the country's five fastest-growing urban areas, with an average annual population growth rate of between 1.6 percent and 2.9 percent over the last decade.
"Population growth results from a combination of natural growth (higher fertility and life expectancy) and in-migration," he said.
While the increase in urban population affected the economy positively, Ndebele said there were some cons to the situation.
"The downside, however, may be that urbanisation fuels crime and social tensions, creates greater environmental and health risks, and poses challenges for government service provision," he said.