92.1% of SA population owns a cellphone

Thursday, October 12, 2023

South Africa's Census 2022 national results has shown an upward trend in ownership of refrigerators, televisions and cellphones.  

“The overwhelming majority (92.1%) of households in the country owned a cellphone in working order, a notable increase from the 3.3% in 2001. Just under four-fifths (79%) of households owned televisions compared to the 52.6% in 2001,” Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said.

Furthermore, the data from Census 2022, which he handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday in Pretoria, shows that the ownership of a refrigerators/freezers increased from 53.8% in 2001 to 83.2% in 2022.

“In contrast, households owning a radio decreased significantly from 73% in 2001 to 50.3% in 2022. In addition, there is a downward trend in households that owned a landline telephone over the period 2001–2022,” Maluleke said.

Households residing in formal dwellings

The report noted that there has been an upward trend in households residing in formal dwellings - an increase of almost 24 percentage points (from 65.1% in 1996 to 88.5% in Census 2022).

Formal dwellings include formal houses with a brick/concrete structure, flats and apartments, cluster houses, townhouses, semi-detached houses or any formal dwelling situated in a backyard, such as a room or garden cottage where a household or single person resides.

“The proportion of households that resided in informal dwellings halved (from 16.2% in 1996 to 8.1% in 2022). In 2022, just over two-fifths (41.6%) of the dwellings that households resided in were owned and fully paid off, with similar proportions recorded in 2001 and 2011.

“The proportion of households that occupied their dwellings rent-free increased from 18.6% in 2011 to 25.6% in 2022, while rented dwellings decreased slightly from 25% in 2011 to 23.2% in 2022. Only 6.6% of households resided in dwellings that were owned but not fully paid off (for example, those still repaying a bond to the bank), declining from 11.8% in 2011,” he said.

Households were asked whether the dwelling they resided in was a government-subsidised dwelling or RDP.

“Two-fifths (40%) of households in the Northern Cape reported that they resided in government subsidised dwelling/RDP housing, only slightly higher than the proportion of households in the Free State (37.6%). Households in Limpopo recorded the lowest proportion of government subsidised dwelling/RDP housing (18.3%), well below the national average of 29.9%,” Maluleke said.

Access to internet

Generally, there has been an upward trend in access to internet services over the period 2011–2022.

Maluleke attributed this to rapid advancement in communication services, such as cellphone ownership.

“Overall, households with no access to internet decreased threefold (from 64.8% in 2011 to 21.1% in 2022). A substantial percentage of households reported accessing internet mainly through a cellphone or other mobile device (60.5%) compared to 16.3% recorded in 2011.

“There was an increase in the percentage of households accessing internet mainly at home, from 8.6% in 2011 to 13.3% in 2022. It is also noted that households accessing internet mainly using other methods decreased significantly. Households accessing internet mainly at work decreased by four percentage points (from 4.7% in 2011 to 0.3% in 2022),” he said.


The Census 2022 shows that there has been an increase in the number of the population born outside South Africa.

“The results indicate that there were more male immigrants compared to females. Furthermore, the prevalent ages of migrants were between ages 20 and 44 years, suggesting that young adults are more likely to migrate than children and the elderly.

“In Census 2011, males aged 25–29 reported the highest number of immigrants with 260 885, whilst in 2022 male immigrants aged 30–34 (235 297) numbered the highest.

“The top five sending countries remained the same between the two censuses (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, and the United Kingdom). India also maintained the 2011 rank in 2022. Namibia, Eswatini, Somalia, Portugal and Germany went down the rank in 2022,” Maluleke said.

Countries that moved up the rank were: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Bangladesh, Botswana, and Pakistan.

China is the only country that moved out of the top 20 sending countries in 2022. Whereas Ghana is the new entry into the top 20 sending countries in 2022. – SAnews.gov.za