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South African National Census of 2011

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Title: South African National Census of 2011  
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Subject: Demographics of South Africa, Afrikaner, 2011 in South Africa, Education in South Africa, Malgas
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South African National Census of 2011

The South African National Census of 2011 is a comprehensive census performed by Statistics South Africa, the latest in a series that is done once every ten years.

The 2011 census was the first census to include geo-referencing for every individual dwelling in South Africa.[1]


Section 16 of the Statistics Act of 1999 outlines the duties of every person in South Africa to participate in the collection of census data and section 18 of the same act provides for prosecution of any person refusing to provide information required for the census. For the 2011 census Statistics South Africa specifically applied for permission from the court to enforce section 16 and 18 of the act.[2]

Stats SA indicated that they would be recruiting 156,000 individuals for the Census 2011 operation including 120,000 fieldworkers, 30,000 supervisors and 6,000 census fieldwork coordinators.[3]


Census night was the night between 9 and 10 October 2011. Approximately 20 million questionnaires were distributed during the 21-day enumeration phase from 10 to 31 October 2011 and a two-week "mop-up exercise" following up on households missed during the enumeration phase.[4][5]

Stats SA put various measures in place to help the public identify legitimate enumerators as a result of security concerns.[6][7][8]

On 31 October 2011 dissatisfied census workers in Gauteng protested over lower contractual fees than those advertised during the Census 2011 recruitment drive.[9][10]

On 31 October 2011 Census enumerators in KwaZulu-Natal went on strike threatening to withhold completed questionnaires following an inaccurate report by a Durban newspaper that enumerators in other areas would be paid more than the R5,000 amount they had contractually agreed to. Statistician-General Pali Lehohla told reporters that all enumerators would receive a flat fee of R5,000 and that payment of census field workers was expected to cost a total of R700 million out of a total Census 2011 budget of R2.2 billion.[11][12][13][14] Homes of striking census workers were raided by the police who confiscated thousands of completed census questionnaires.[15]

Approximately 3,000 frustrated census workers had still not been paid by the end of November 2011 due to bank payment problems.[16]

During the enumeration phase ending on 31 October 2011 crime-related incidents reported by census workers included 10 cases of assault, 15 cases of robbery and seven cases of intimidation. Eight staff members died in road accidents during this period.[5]

Initial results

The first reports of statistics, published on 30 October 2012, showed a total population of 51,770,560.[17]


  • Area: 1,220,813 square kilometres (471,359 sq mi)
  • Population: 51,770,560
  • Households: 14,450,161

79.6% of the population is black. The median age of the total population is 25 years but the black population's median age is lower at 21 years.[18]

Gender Number[19] %
Female 26,581,769 51.3
Male 25,188,791 48.7
Total 51,770,560 100.0
Population group Number[19] %
Black 41,000,938 79.6
Coloured 4,615,401 9.0
White 4,586,838 8.9
Asian 1,286,930 2.5
Total excl Other 51,490,106 100.0

Note: All figures represent South Africa as a whole.


Only 28.4% of South Africans over the age of twenty years have completed the 12th grade while only 33.8% even got to high school and 8.6% had no schooling at all. 12.1% have a tertiary qualification.[20][18]

Household economic indicators

There are about 14.5 million households in South Africa,[21] 77.6% live in formal dwellings, 7.9% in traditional and 13.6% live in informal dwellings.[22]

Average household income is R103 204 per year with 13.18 million of the population employed.[18]

A total of almost 1.3 million households have no access to piped water and as far as sanitation is concerned 8,242,924 have flush toilets, 297,847 households use bucket toilets and 748,597 households have no toilet at all.[23]

Domestic appliance ownership is as follows; 11.1 million have an electric or gas stove, 9.9 million own a refrigerator. Washing machines are found in 4.6 million households and 2.5 million own a vacuum cleaner. Car ownership extends to 4.3 million households.[21]

In terms of access to media and telecommunications 10.7 million own a television and 8.6 million have a DVD player while approximately 9.4 million have internet access, although not necessarily in the home. More than 12.8 million households have mobile phones.[21]

Health and welfare

About one in nine South Africans are infected with HIV. 3.37 million children under the age of 17 had lost one or both parents and AIDS is blamed as a major factor.[24]


"Because "disability" was redefined as having difficulties with a series of tasks such as seeing, hearing and walking, the census recorded higher figures than in previous years, most likely as a result of people with such difficulties choosing not to be defined as disabled."[25]

The new method is based on the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps.[25]

The two most used "assistive devices" are spectacles at 14% of the population and chronic medication is used by 12.3%. Walking sticks or frames, hearing aids and wheelchairs are used by 2.3% to 3.2% of South Africans.[25]

See also


  1. ^ "A Geo-referenced Census Frame of Dwellings for the 2011 Census of the Republic of South Africa". United Nations Statistics Division (Census Knowledge Base ). Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Census 2011: Be counted – or jailed".  
  3. ^ "Stats SA embarks on a massive recruitment drive for Census 2011". Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Census 2011". Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Counting not done: Stats SA". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Security measures for census 2011". 4 October 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Robbers pose as census workers". 11 October 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Samuels, Simone (12 October 2011). "Posters delay and robbers mar Census 2011". Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Siso, Sipho (31 October 2011). "Census workers claim exploitation". Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Siso, Sipho (1 November 2011). "Census workers protest in Joburg CBD". Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Census workers strike". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Madlala, Mpume (1 November 2011). "Census workers protest in Durban". Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "KZN census workers threaten to withhold forms unless their pay doubles". 1 November 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  14. ^ Mkamba, Lungelo (2 November 2011). "Census protesters attack photographer". Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Striking census workers' homes raided". 2 November 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Prince, Natasha (30 November 2011). "Irate unpaid census takers stage sit-in". Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "SA population at 51.8 million – Census". News24.  
  18. ^ a b c Phillip de Wet (30 October 2012). "SA: Fuller, richer, older, wiser and better serviced | News | National | Mail & Guardian". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  19. ^ a b "Census 2011: Highlights of key results". Statistics South Africa. p. 9. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "Less than a third in SA have matric". News24.  
  21. ^ a b c "More TVs than fridges in SA homes". News24.  
  22. ^ "South Africa improves access to services". Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  23. ^ "1.3m households without piped water". News24.  
  24. ^ Mike Cohen (30 October 2012). "South Africa's Racial Income Inequality Persists, Census Shows". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  25. ^ a b c Wyndham Hartley (30 October 2012). "Census: South Africans mostly a healthy nation | Health". BDlive. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  26. ^ "Washington Group – Washington Group on Disability Statistics". 22 July 2009. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 

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