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South African National Census of 2011

3rd National Census
ZA Census 2011 Logo.png
General information
Country South Africa
Date taken 9 October 2011 (2011-10-09)
Total population 51.8 million
Percent change 14.39% Increase
Most populous region Gauteng
Least populous region Northern Cape

The South African National Census of 2011 is the 3rd comprehensive census performed by Statistics South Africa.

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

The development of an overall strategy began in April 2003, initially for a planned national census in 2006 to meet the United Nations global directive for a census every five years. After an application to the government, it was postponed to 2011 to improve strategies to reduce undercounting in gated communities, farmlands and rural areas.

In February 2007 a large-scale Community Survey was conducted in all provinces. It was based on a random sample, enumerating 246,618 households. The main objective was to provide data of geography at district and municipal levels, build a logistics capacity for 2011 and primary data for population projections. The results were released in October 2007 with the caution that figures must be read with a "certain interval of confidence".

With lessons from the National Census in 2001 and Community Survey in 2007, a "team cells" approach was developed. This strategy was adopted mainly because of a skills-shortage, using experts from the United States, Kenya and United Kingdom to conduct on-the-job training for temporary Census staff. The programme was divided into a three-level hierarchy of sub-projects as follows:

During October 2010 a "dress rehearsal" was held, it tested all processed and refined the process to ensure a successful enumeration. There were a large number of non-response cases that were investigated by fieldworkers. This suggested that non-responses may be a "challenge" during the census night.

The pre-enumeration phase involved over 7000 temporary staff, who concurrently demarcated enumeration areas, evaluated questionnaires and developed satellite office logistics.

The demarcation process involved dividing the country into "small pockets" of land, called enumeration areas based on administrative boundaries, size, and population density. The data used included satellite images, address data, gated community blueprints, sectional titles and sub-place spatial boundaries; sourced from private service providers and the geo-referencing Dwelling Frame Project. The objective of the project was to identity, locate and describe approximately 50% of dwelling structures in South Africa that have no address, predominantly in the former bantustans. It piloted in 2002 and was utilised for the first time in the 2011 National Census.


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