Its only three days to go until the start of the 2011 Census in South Africa. Just what is it all about?

1. What is a population census?

A population census is a snapshot of a country at a particular moment in time. South Africa’s census will be held in October this year. Census night is the 9th of October 2011. The census will tell us how many people live in the country, their gender, age, living conditions, access to basic services etc.

2. Who organises Census?

In South Africa the census is planned and conducted by Statistics South Africa.

4. Why do we need to have a census?

The information collected will give planners, both inside and outside of government, an accurate picture of how many people are living in the country. it will tell them what resources people need such as education, healthcare, housing and transport. That is why it is important for everyone within the borders of South Africa on the 9th of October to participate.

It is estimated that over 50 million people live in South Africa

5. When was the last census conducted?

The last time a census was conducted was in 2001 and is held every 10 years in South Africa.

7. Why do I have to participate in Census 2011?

Census data is used for planning purposes. If you do not participate, the data collected will not be a true reflection of the South African population. The South African government as well as private sector needs accurate information for effective planning and policy making. .

8 Do I have to participate?

A census attempts to collect data from everyone, unlike a survey which only collects data from selected respondents. A census is therefore the only source for community level data on issues such as migration patterns, education, persons with disabilities, employment and unemployment, fertility, mortality and service delivery, all of which are critical for planning.

Legally, Section 16 of the Statistics Act (Act 6 of 1999) obliges a respondent to answer all questions put to them by an officer of Statistics South Africa.

9. How do I know that the person at my door is from Stats SA?

The enumerators can be identified as follows:

A yellow satchel with the Census and Stats SA logos
An A3-size book with a map of the area on the first page
A yellow bib with the Census and Stats SA logos
An ID card

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