Census undercount of 14.6% a concern

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pretoria - Although lower than the previous census, the undercount in Census 2011 at 14.6% is of concern.

"The undercount is still a little bit too high ... but is significantly lower than what it was in 2001. The key is that the undercount is determined by the post-enumeration survey conducted about a month later [after the main census]," chair of the Statistics Council Howard Gabriels said of the estimated undercount on Tuesday.

In the previous census conducted in 2001, the undercount was at 17%.

President Jacob Zuma earlier received the results of the country's third national census since the dawn of democracy in 1994. Statistician General Pali Lehohla handed over the results ceremoniously at the Sefako M Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.

According to the results, the country's population has swelled from 40.5 million in 1996 to 51.7 million in 2011.

Howard, however, added that difficulties experienced during the course of the census needed to be taken into consideration. The difficulties included high walled areas, the migration of people from one area to another as well as the emergence of new settlements also filtered through to the undercount.

The issue of the undercount in the census conducted between10 October to 31 October 2011 would be looked at Minister in the Presidency for National Planning Trevor Manuel.

The 2011 Census as well of that of 2001 had been undertaken in October, after which the post enumeration survey would be conducted at a time when people tended to move between areas and visiting family.

Gabriels said the content of the census - of which data was processed in 12 months for the first time since the dawn of democracy - was relevant to the planning needs of the country.

Also speaking at the Sefako M Makgatho Presidential Guest House, following the handover to President Zuma, Gabriels added that the census was thorough and run in a professional manner.

Among other things, the results showed that average age of the population was 25.

The results also showed that South Africa's average household income increased nominally by 113% in 2011 compared to the last census in 2001. The highest average household income was in Gauteng, which topped at R156 243 while the lowest was in Limpopo R56 844.

The census found that household income on average for black Africans was R60 613 while whites had the highest household income at R365 134.

Over the course of the census, 14.6 million doors across the country were knocked on.

The census also revealed that access to piped water, proper sanitation and electricity had improved over the past 15 years.

Households that have flush toilets connected to the sewerage system increased "persistently" to 57% in 2011 from 50% recorded in Census 2001.

Preliminary estimates put the figure of South Africa's life expectancy at 57 years. - SAnews.gov.za