South African National Census of 2001

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The South African National Census of 2001 is a comprehensive national census of South Africa.

The census was undertaken by Statistics South Africa and undertook to enumerate every person present in South Africa on the census night, 9–10 October 2001. The enumeration primarily took place from 10 to 30 October. South Africa's first official census since the fall of apartheid was held in October 1996.

The census determined the country's population as 44.8 million.



During this phase, South Africa was divided into thousands of small, manageable "pieces" called Enumeration Areas (EAs). The intention was that each EA could be handled by a single enumerator to allow every household in the country to be visited within the time frames provided.

In total over 80,000 EAs were defined using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques. Factors considered when defining EAs included:

  • Administrative and social boundaries
  • Geographic size and shape
  • Population density
  • Mobility considerations (e.g. transport and communication infrastructure)


Data Processing[edit]

As the 2001 Census was paper-based, an enormous amount of data needed to be converted to a digital format. The task of data processing consists of primarily four parts: data capture, post-data capture, coding and product generation.

Over 1000 temporary staff members were employed by Statistics South Africa to assist in the process. These employees worked in shifts, 7 days a week for almost 18 months. In total, 10 249 185 questionnaires were received which resulted in the generation of over 117 million images once scanned.

Post-enumeration Survey (PES)[edit]

Key results[edit]

  • Area: 1,219,090 square kilometres (470,690 sq mi)
  • Population: 44,819,778: 36.8 inhabitants per square kilometre (95/sq mi)
  • Households: 11,205,705: 9.2 per square kilometre (24/sq mi)
Gender Population %
Female 23,385,737 52.2
Male 21,434,040 47.8
Race Population %
Black 35,416,166 79
White 4,293,640 9.6
Coloured 3,994,505 8.9
Asian 1,115,467 2.5
First language Population %
IsiZulu 10,677,305 23.8
IsiXhosa 7,907,153 17.6
Afrikaans 5,983,426 13.3
Sepedi 4,208,980 9.4
Setswana 3,677,016 8.2
English 3,673,203 8.2
Sesotho 3,555,186 7.9
Xitsonga 1,992,207 4.4
SiSwati 1,194,430 2.7
Tshivenda 1,021,757 2.3
IsiNdebele 711,821 1.6
Other 217,293 0.5

Note: All figures represent South Africa as a whole.
Source: [1]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Statistics South Africa - CENSUS 2001 - Census in brief" (PDF). StatsSA. 2003. Retrieved 2012-07-15.