Media Release                                                                                                 30 June 2016

Community Survey 2016 results

The population of South Africa has increased to 55,7 million in 2016 from 51,8 million in 2011, representing an increase of over 3 million. Of the 55,7 million people living in South Africa, a majority reside in Gauteng (13,4 million), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (11 million) and Eastern Cape (7 million). Northern Cape remains the province with the smallest share of the country’s population with 1,2 million people. The number of households in the country has also increased to 16,9 million in 2016, from 14,5 million in 2011. A majority of these were headed by males (58,7%). This is according to the results of Community Survey 2016, released by Statistics South Africa today.


According to the results, of the 55,7 million people in the country, a majority (44,9 million) are Black Africans, followed by coloureds (4,9 million), whites (4,5 million), and Indians/Asians (1,4 million).


Educational enrolment and attainment

In terms of educational enrolment, the results show that enrolment levels have remained consistently high within the compulsory education age range of 7 to 15 years. However, significant progress has been made in the lower ages (5 to 9 years) with enrolment rates for five year olds having quadrupled from 22,5% in 1996 to 91% in 2016. Enrolment rates among children aged 6 years have nearly doubled over the same period, from 49,1% to 95,7%. It is worth noting that from 18 years of age enrolment rates start to decline for all ages, with enrolment for individuals aged 24 years declining by nearly two thirds, from 23,1% to 14,8%. This is partially a reflection of a reduction in age at school completion over this period and not necessarily a direct reflection on enrolment rates in tertiary institutions.


The results indicate that for people aged 5 years and older females (51,7%) were more likely to not attend educational institutions than males. Limpopo (56,0%), Eastern Cape (54,7%) and KwaZulu-Natal (53,8%) were the three provinces with the highest female non-attendance rates.


The number of people who indicated that they had no schooling has declined from 3,7 million in 1996 to 2,3 million in 2016. Similarly, there had been increases in the number of people who completed a bachelor’s degree over the same period, from 410 686 in 1996 to 1,2 million in 2016. People who have completed secondary school education have more than tripled between 1996 and 2016 from 3,5 million to 11,9 million. Within the 55-64 years age group, the number of bachelor’s degree holders is fivefold what it was in 1996, having increased from 33 549 to 171 424 in 2016.


The number of people aged 25-34 years old with bachelor’s degrees has doubled over the 20-year period between 1996 and 2016, from 157 154 in 1996 to 343 116 in 2016. Similarly, educational attainment has improved across all age groups, increasing to 331 169 in 2016 from 124 748 in 1996 among people within the 35-44 years age group. The number of persons who attained a bachelor’s degree in the 45-54 years age group has quadrupled to 282 314 in 2016 from 69 797 in 1996


Access to basic services and perceived challenges

Access to basic services has generally increased between 2011 and 2016. The number of households with access to piped water has increased from 13,2 million in 2011 to 15,2 million in 2016. The number of households accessing water from taps within their yards has increased significantly from 3,9 million in 2011 to 5,1 million in 2016. A similar trend has been noted with the number of households accessing water from inside their dwelling, with the number of households increasing from 6,7 million in 2011 to 7,5 million in 2016. Similarly, the number of households with no access to piped water has also increased from 1,3 million in 2011 to 1,7 million in 2016. The province with largest proportion of households with access to piped water is Western Cape with 98,9%, followed by Gauteng (97,4%) and Free State (96,2%). The province with the smallest proportion of households with access to piped water is Eastern Cape with 75,1%.


Access to electricity for lighting has increased by 32,2% from 58,1 % in 1996 to 90,3% in 2016. The provinces with largest proportions of access to electricity were Western Cape, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, each with more than 90%.


Of the 16,9 million households in South Africa, about 10,3 million (60,6%) have access to a flush toilet connected to a sewerage system. This represents an increase of about 3,6 percentage points from 2011 when 57% of households had access to this kind of toilets. Similarly the proportion of households using pit toilets with ventilation has increased, from 8,8% in 2011 to 12,2% in 2016. Households with no access to a toilet facility have declined to 2,4% in 2016, from 5,2% in 2011. A majority of households (49,5%) have access to a toilet facility within their yard. In contrast, 45,6% of households use a toilet located within their dwelling. Whereas only 4,9% use a toilet facility located outside their yard.


When asked what they perceived to be the biggest challenges they faced within their municipality, a majority of households listed the lack of safe and reliable water supply (2,7 million), followed by the lack of or inadequate employment opportunities (2 million) and the cost of electricity (1,7 million).


Poverty headcount and hunger

Most provinces reported a decline in the poverty headcount between 2011 and 2016, the lowest poverty headcount was reported in the Western Cape at 2,7%, followed by Gauteng (4,6%), Free State (5,5%), Northern Cape (6,6%), KwaZulu-Natal (7,7%), North West (8,8%), Limpopo (11,5%), and Eastern Cape (12,7%). It is worth noting, however, that the poverty headcount in Limpopo had increased from 10,1% in 2011 whereas it remained at 5,5% between 2011 and 2016 in Free State.


Approximately 13,3% (2,2 million) of households in South Africa indicated that they had skipped a meal in the 12 months before the survey. The province with the largest proportion of households that skipped a meal was Eastern Cape at 17,6%, followed by Northern Cape (17,5%), North West (17,4%), Free State (15,7%), KwaZulu-Natal (14,8%), Mpumalanga (14,8%), Limpopo (12,9%), and Gauteng (10,8%). The Western Cape had the lowest proportion of households that skipped a meal at 8,4%. Nationally, nearly one-fifth of households reported to have run out of money to buy food in the twelve months before the survey.



Note to the editors:

The Community Survey is a large-scale household sample survey conducted to bridge the information gap between two censuses. It is one of the few available data sources that provide statistics at municipal level, and it is aimed at enhancing planning, monitoring and evaluation at this level of government. The survey provides data on, among others, population, health, migration, education and access to basic services. The 2016 survey was conducted between March and April 2016 and collected data from 1,3 million households across all South African communities.


Issued by Statistics South Africa

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