Fifty-one percent of South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed, a SA Institute of Race Relations survey has found.

A grim picture has been painted for South African school leavers, with statistics showing that one in two young South Africans - and two out of three young African women - are jobless.

The unemployment rate among all 15- to 24-year-olds is 51 percent, more than twice the national unemployment rate of 25 percent, according to the latest South Africa Survey published by the South African Institute of Race Relations.

The survey also found an increasing number of South Africans were relying on grants, with the number of beneficiaries increasing by more than 300 percent in the past nine years.

Also, the survey found that the average job created by a government programme lasted just 46 days.

Lucy Holborn, a researcher at the Institute, said the statistics were concerning because the longer young people were unemployed, the more unemployable they became.

Unemployment is highest among African women aged 15 to 24 years, at 63 percent. Youth unemployment is lowest among Indian men, at 15 percent. The youth unemployment rate varies considerably between the races - it is 57 percent among Africans, 47 percent among coloured youths, 23 percent among Indians, and 21 percent among whites. - Cape Times