HEAD COUNT: Census field worker Simphiwe Faku speaks to Jennifer Steyn at her home in Sherwood, Port Elizabeth, during the census counting process last year. Picture: THE HERALD
HEAD COUNT: Census field worker Simphiwe Faku speaks to Jennifer Steyn at her home in Sherwood, Port Elizabeth, during the census counting process last year. Picture: THE HERALD

SOUTH Africa’s population increased by about 7-million to 51,770,560 between 2001 and 2011, Statistics South Africa revealed on Tuesday as statistician-general Pali Lehohla handed President Jacob Zuma the census results in Pretoria.

The country still has a young population, with most of the nearly 52-million under 39 years of age.

Divided by gender, 26,582,769 are female and 25,188,791 male. Along racial lines, 41,000,938 (79,2%) are black, 4,615,401 are coloured, 1,286,930 are Indian or Asian, and 5,586,838 (9,6%) are white.

The largest age group is the under-fives, which Statistics South Africa’s demographic analysis executive director, Diego Iturralde, said was due either to an overadjustment for the 5-14 age group in the 1996 and 2001 censuses, or to the HIV pandemic tapering off.

"It could be that HIV (infection) rates have levelled out and fertility has begun to recover," he said.

A breakdown of the population by age shows there are more children in the zero-to-four age group than in any other bracket.

Over 5.6-million South Africans are under the age of four, while 4.8-million children are aged five to nine, and close to 4.6-million are between the ages of 10 and 14.

“Almost one in three, or 29.6% of the population of South Africa, is aged between zero and four years, and a further 28.9% is aged between 15 and 34 years,” according to the census document.

Of these, 73.5% attend an educational institution (71.5% in 2001; 70.1% in 1996), while the proportion attending private educational institutions has increased from 5.1% in 2001 to 7.3%. Most of those attending private institutions are doing so in Gauteng (16.7%), followed by the Western Cape (7.5%) and the Free State (6.4%).

What will please some is that the proportion of the population that has completed higher education has increased to 11.8%, from 8.4% in 2001 and 7.1% in 1996.

The census showed the average annual household income had more than doubled in the 10 years from 2001 to 2011, to R103,204 from R48,385, while the consumer price index showed income should have increased 77.7% during this period to keep up with inflation.

The figures showed female-headed households’ average annual income (R67,330) was just more than half the average annual income of a household headed by a man. Stats SA executive manager Nozipho Shabalala said this did not mean men earned twice as much as women, because many male-headed households included a woman’s income too.

Whites are still the wealthiest population group, with white-headed households earning an average annual income of R365,134, black-headed households R60,613, coloured-headed households R112,172 and households headed by Indians or Asians R251,541.

However, white-headed households are proportionally poorer, clocking an average income increase between 2001 and 2011 of 88.4%, while blacks’ salaries increased by an average of 169.1%, those of Indian- and Asian-headed households by 145.2% and those of coloured-headed households by 118.1%.

Gauteng’s average annual household income is still the highest, at R156,243 (R78,541 in 2001), followed by the Western Cape at R143,460 (R78,157).

The census results do not compare employment rates over the decade from 2001, and Mr Iturralde said comparisons were difficult because each census measured employment rates differently. There was a 2.2 percentage point difference between the Census 2011 employment rate of 56.5% and last year’s fourth-quarter labour force survey’s 54.3%.

Stats SA’s website shows the unemployment rate in the 2001 census at 24%, according to the formal definition of unemployment.

People in short-term or casual employment are more likely to be captured in the quarterly survey than in the census, according to the census document. Mr Iturralde said it was an international phenomenon that a census captured a higher unemployment rate than other measurements.

Gauteng had the highest employment rate, at 70%, followed by the Western Cape at 67.9%, with a drop-off after that to 56.9% in the Free State. The Eastern Cape had the lowest employment rate, at 43.4%.

The census counted 14,450,161 households across South Africa, up from 2001’s 11,205,705, the average size of which was 3.4 people compared with 3.8 in 2001. Most (77.6%) live in formal dwellings (68.5% in 2001), with 7.9% in traditional dwellings (14.8% in 2001) and 13.6% in informal dwellings (16.4% in 2001).

Mr Iturralde said the 2011 census did not ask whether a householder’s dwelling was provided by the state, but state-provided houses would have been counted as fully owned by the owner. Most South Africans have been counted as owning a fully paid-off home (41.3%), while 11.8% are paying off their homes. A quarter of South Africans rent their homes, with the highest percentage of renters (37.1%) in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape (28.9%). Limpopo has the lowest percentage of renters, at just 12.6%, while 52.7% of households occupy their homes rent-free — the highest of all the provinces.

According to the census, there has been a rise in the number of orphaned children, in part due to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Among children younger than 17, 3.37-million have lost one or both parents, the census found.

Paternal orphanhood was higher than maternal orphanhood, although the latter has seen an almost twofold increase since 2001. KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of orphans, followed by the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

With Nick Hedley