Censuses are principal means of collecting basic population and housing statistics required for social and economic development,
policy interventions, their implementation and evaluation. South Africa has conducted three censuses (1996, 2001 and 2011).
The third census was conducted in October 2011 and a number of population and household attributes were measured and a variety of indicators generated from them.
- Census results play an essential role in informing and measuring public policies.
- Census statistics provide sampling frame for sample surveys.
- Census undertaking contributes to generation of statistics on small areas.
- Census statistics are used by the private sector for market analyses.
- The census results are used as a benchmark for research and analysis. Population projections are one of the most important analytical outputs based on census data.
The Census 2011 project had its own challenges and successes, like any other massive project. Be that as it may, the following are worth mentioning:
the census fieldworkers who traversed the country to collect information from households and those that we lost in the process;
the respondents who opened their doors and locked their dogs to aid the field staff to do their work; the processors who worked 24hrs/7days a week to ensure
that the data can be released within a year of enumeration; the census management team who met daily for two years to steer the project forward;
the Stats SA EXCO for the leadership they provided; the Statistics Council and in particular the sub-committee on population and social statistics
for their continued guidance and support; and finally the Minister in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission for the robust interrogation of the
plans and guidance on this project. It is through such concerted efforts that as a country we can and will continuously improve on our endeavours.