Census 2022: A Decade in the Making – South Africa Prepares for Landmark Data Release

a group of people discussing charts

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has officially confirmed its plan to unveil the Census 2022 results on October 10th. On this significant day, Statistician General Risenga Maluleke will present the comprehensive census report to President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria.

This eagerly awaited report promises to furnish invaluable insights into the country’s population size, demographic trends, and various service delivery-related statistics, as articulated by Maluleke in response to an inquiry from GroundUp.

It’s worth noting that the most recent available statistics date back more than a decade to the 2011 Census.

Census 2022 stands as the fourth population and housing enumeration exercise since the end of apartheid in South Africa. The first census of this kind was conducted in 1996, followed by subsequent censuses in 2001 and 2011.

Maluleke has disclosed that Stats SA intends to adopt a phased approach, aligning with the practice adopted by numerous other countries, in releasing the census findings.

Calvin Molongoana, the director of the Census project, previously shared with GroundUp that the original plan was to conduct the census in October 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted the preparations.

In December 2021, Mondli Gungubele, the former Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation, formally announced February 2, 2022, as the census date.

Uniquely, due to the ongoing pandemic, Census 2022 departed from the traditional approach. Molongoana cited public skepticism, driven by concerns related to security and crime, as well as the additional apprehension brought on by the pandemic, as factors influencing the census process.

In response to these challenges, Census 2022 marked the country’s inaugural digital census, allowing people to participate through computer-assisted web or telephonic interviews. However, a substantial number of households still engaged in face-to-face interviews conducted by fieldworkers, totaling nearly 100,000 individuals.

Following the conclusion of the enumeration, Stats SA diligently undertook a post-enumeration survey to independently assess the accuracy of the census by surveying a sample of the population, as explained by Molongoana.