There are now 51.7 million people in SA – Census 2011 results

South Africa’s population has swelled from 40.5 million in 1996 to 51.7 million in 2011, results of Census 2011 have shown.

“The Census results show that the population of South Africa increased by about four million from 1996 to 2001. In the ten years since the last census about seven million people have been added to the population,” said Statistics South Africa of its Census 2011 results in Pretoria today (30 October 2012)

The average age of the population was 25.

South Africa’s third national census since the dawn of democracy in 1994 was conducted from 10 October to 31 October 2011. The Census provides policy makers about the population’s access to services and where it resides among other things.

According to results, more than three quarters of the country’s population is black African. The population of black Africans slightly increased from the last census to 79.2%. The country’s Indian/ Asian population remained constant at 2.5% in the 2011 results. The results show that the percentage of the white population declined slightly from 9.6% in the 2001 census to 8.7% in 2011.

Gauteng in the latest census held the lion’s share of the population at 23.7% followed KwaZulu-Natal. The Northern Cape had the lowest share of the population at 2.2%.

South Africa’s population was found to be predominantly female with an average of the population consisting of 48.2% males and 51.7% females.

IsiZulu was the predominant language spoken at home in the country at 22.7% in the 2011 census slightly down from 23.8% in Census 2001. Xhosa was 16%. Less than 1% of the population indicated that they used sign language.

The census found that Gauteng reported the highest percentage of non-citizenship at 7.1% followed by North West at 3.5% and the Western Cape by 3.2%.

According to the census, more men died due to unnatural causes compared to women.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of orphans followed by the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. The Northern Cape and Western Cape had the lowest rates.

The census found that 77.6% of South Africans lived in formal dwellings while 13.6% lived in informal dwellings.

Over the course of the census, 14.6 million doors across the country were knocked on with 4.7% of those found to have been vacant. There were a total 103 000 enumeration areas.

Access to sanitation, electricity and piped water:

 South Africans’ access to piped water, proper sanitation and electricity has 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.

 The portion of households using the bucket toilet system decreased to 2.1% in 2011 from 3.9% in 2001.

 Households with no toilets also declined significantly from 13.3% in 2001 to 5.2% in 2011.

 The results show a significant increase in the proportion of households which have access to piped water, with the percentage increasing from 60.7% according to Census 1996 to 62.3% in 2001 and 73.4% in 2011.

 The proportion of households that have access to piped water was high in all provinces apart from the Eastern Cape and Limpopo which had the lowest proportions.

 The highest was in Gauteng, where 89.4% of households have piped water inside the dwelling or yard.

 Gauteng is followed closely by Free State at 89.1% and the Western Cape at 88.4%.

“The households that reported to have no access to piped water are highest in Eastern Cape (22.2%), followed by 14.1% in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo with 14%,” Census 2011 found.

 With regards to electricity, households that used electricity for lighting increased from 70.2% in 2001 to 84.7% in 2011, while households that used electricity for cooking increased from 52.2% to 73.9% over the same period.

 Households that used electricity for heating had increased from 49.9% in 2001 to 58.8% in 2011.

 When it came to the distribution of households, the results showed that Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have the highest number of households, approximately 3.9 million and 2.5 million respectively, while the Northern Cape had 301 405 and the Free State with 823 316 had the lowest number of households.

 There has been a steady increase in the percentage of households living in formal dwellings over time. Figures in this category increased from 65.1% in 1996 and 68.5% in 2001 to 77.6% in 2011. 

 The percentage of households living in traditional dwellings almost halved from the 14.8% in 2001 to the 7.9% in 2011, while the percentage of households living in informal dwellings decreased from 16.4% in 2001 to 13.6% in 2011.

 “It is evident that in general there is an improvement in the access to basic services over time. Such improvements provide direct benefits to households in terms of better living conditions, environmental and health standards,” Census 2011 noted. – Pretoria – In the past 15 years, there has been a general increase in the percentage of individuals from the age five up to 15 attending educational institutions, the Census 2011 results has indicated.

 The five to seven-year-old age group showed the most significant progress in terms of increased enrollment rates between 1996 and 2011, according to the results released by Statistics SA on Tuesday.

Education levels

Enrollment for the five-year-old age g roup was at 22.5% at Census 1996, 45.6% at Census 2001 and had leaped to 81.2% in the latest results.

 For the six-year-old age group, these figures were at 49.1% in 1996, 70.3% in 2001 and 92.7% in 2011, while for the seven-year-old group it was at 73.1% in 1996, 88.4% in 2001 and 96.1% in 2011.

 “The vast majority of students in South Africa attend public educational institutions. Only 5% of those aged 5-24 years, who were attending educational institutions in 2001, attended private institutions as opposed to the 7.3% in 2011,” the Census 2011 outcomes indicate.

 There was a general increase in private school attendance across all the provinces, with the highest in Gauteng at 16.7%, followed by the Western Cape at 7.5% and the Free State at 6.4%.

 All other provinces had private institution attendance rates of less than 5%.

 An increase in black Africans aged between 5-24 years attending educational institutions was also recorded. Figures for this population group increased steadily from, 70.7% in 1996 to 72.1% in 2001, to 73.9% in 2011.

 Attendance rates among coloured, Indian/Asian and white population groups also increased.

 The results also showed that the proportion of individuals aged 20, who have no schooling, halved from 19.1% in 1996 to 8.6% in 2011.

 In addition, the percentage of individuals aged 20 years and older that received no formal education has decreased steadily between 1996 and 2011.

 In 1996, 17% of males in this age group had no formal education. This decreased to 15.5% in 2001 and further to 7.2% in 2011.

 Among females, the percentage with no formal education declined from 20.9% in 1996, to 20% in 2001 and 9.9% in 2011 – News courtesy of

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