Demographic characteristics and beliefs of the people in “the village that is South Africa”

Freedom Day 2012 in South Africa

In acknowledgement of Freedom Day in South Africa on the 27th April, Ipsos South Africa has reviewed some of the major defining statistics of our population.

If South Africa were a single village with only 100 adult[1] inhabitants, what would it look like?  What would the people be like and what would they want from life?

Demographic characteristics and beliefs of the people in the village

  • In the “village” there will be a balance between genders with half of the people being male and the other half female[2].

Age profile

Young people will make out the majority of the population with 52 out of the 100 younger than 35.  The average age of those in the “village” will be 36,51 years. One can thus expect issues concerning younger people, like education, economic opportunities and development to be of concern.

Age 2012 profile %
15-24 27
25-34 25
35-49 26
50-59 12
60+ 10


Population group profile

The population group profile did not change much over the last 16 years; currently three quarters of the inhabitants of the “village” will be black, while the other quarter is made up by representation from the minority population groups.

Population group 1996 profile[3] 2008 profile 2012 profile %
Black 77 78 76
Whte 11 11 12
Coloured 9 8 10
Indian 3 3 2

Marital status:

Marital status 2008 % 2012 %
Single 43 52
Married 39 32
Living together 9 8
Widowed 7 6
Divorced/separated 2 2

Language proficiency

Issues of language, language group rights and interests and the language of education got a lot of attention in the media recently.  How multilingual are South Africans really?

Zulu, English, Xhosa and Afrikaans are the biggest home languages in the South African “village”, while the dominant position of English as “lingua franca” when it comes to understanding and reading is clear: more than 9 out of every 10 people in the “village” understand English, while 17 in every 20 can also read English.

Language Home language %[4] Understand %[5] Read %[6]
Zulu 20 36 29
English 19 91 86
Xhosa 15 25 20
Afrikaans 13 32 29
Sepedi 9 16 12
Tswana 8 18 13
Sesotho 7 20 14
Swazi 3 5 4
Tsonga/Shangaan 3 5 4
Venda 2 4 2
Ndebele 1 3 2


Religion:

Currently 57 out of the 100 adults in the “village” are Christian (either Roman Catholic or Protestant). In 2008 73 out of the 100 “villagers” claimed to be Christian.

The ZCC/the Church of Shembe/other African Independent Churches form the religious home of almost a fifth of South African adults. However, a similar proportion indicated that they would not classify themselves as belonging to any religious group.

Religious group %
Christian Protestant 43
Christian Roman Catholic 14
ZCC/Church of Shembe/African Independent Churches 17
Muslim/Islam 2
Hindu 1
Other 1
Jewish/Judaism *
Buddhist *
Refused 3
None 19

Housing and socio-economic infrastructure of households in the village

13 out of the 100 have one or more domestic helpers and in 58% there are children younger than 15 in the house.

Housing type and facilities

Almost half of the “village” is made up of houses/cluster houses and townhouses and a further quarter live in RDP or the so-called “matchbox” houses.

Type of house/structure %
House/cluster/townhouse 47
RDP house/”matchbox” 23
Squatter hut/shack 12
Traditional hut 10
Room in backyard 2
Flat 2
Hostel/compound 1
Other 3

  • 77 households have tap water in the house or on the stand/in the yard (this was 68 in 2008)
  • 34 have hot water from a geyser (this was 31 in 2008)


Furniture, facilities and appliances in the household

  • 88 have a television set (this was 70 in 2008)
  • 84 have an electric stove
  • 80 have a fridge and/or freezer
  • 65 have a DVD player
  • 59 have a flush toilet
  • 46 have a built-in kitchen sink
  • 38 have a washing machine
  • 26 households subsribe to MNet/DStv
  • 18 have a vacuum cleaner and/or polisher
  • 18 have a personal desktop/laptop
  • 11 households make use of  a home security service
  • 11 have a landline telephone in working order (this is less than in 2008 when 17 had a landline telephone in working order)
  • 9 have a tumble dryer
  • 9 have a VCR
  • 4 have a dishwasher

Modern communication and transport in the “village”

  • 8 in every 10 (80%) have no internet access, while 6% can access the internet at work, 6% at home and 13% via cellphone
  • 83 own, rent or use a cell phone (a slight increase from 2008 when 80 owned, rented or used a cell phone)
  • Just more than 3 in every 10 (31%) own or drive a motor vehicle (car/station wagon/bakkie/mini-bus):
  • 19 have 1
  • 10 have 2 and
  • 2 have three or more motor vehicles.

This is virtually the same as in 2008 when 30 owned a motor vehicle.

Access to banking and financial services

  • 42 inhabitants do NOT use any banking service (this is down from 2008 when 50 inhabitants did NOT use any banking service). This time 5% refused to give an answer.
  • The others use:
Service/Product %
ATM card 35
Savings account 33
Debit card 13
Cheque/current account 8
Credit card 7
Vehicle finance 4
Transmission account 3
Mzansi 3
Home loan 3
Investment account 2
Petrol/garage card 2
  • Other financial services used, are:
Service/Product %
Funeral insurance 27
Life cover/policy 14
Medical insurance 7
Retirement annuity/pension plan or policy 6
Short-term insureance for vehicle, house etc 5
Endowment, investment/saving/education plan with or without life cover 5
Refused 6
None of these 60
  • Based on these and other figures, the LSM (Living Standards Measure) distribution in the village will be:
LSM %
LSM 1 1
LSM 2 2
LSM 3 7
LSM 4 14
LSM 5 20
LSM 6 24
LSM 7 9
LSM 8 8
LSM 9 10
LSM 10 5

Employment, income and education in the “village”

  • Currently just more than a third (36%) of the villagers is employed (either full-time or part-time). In 2008 42 were employed (full-time or part-time).
  • Of the 36, 26 are employed full-time and the other 10 part-time
  • Of the 36, 6 are self-employed
  • Of the 36; 21 are male and 15 are female.
  • Thus 64 of the villagers are unemployed:
  • 29 are male and 35 are female
  • 6 are housewives, 14 are students, 10 are retired, 30 are looking for work (thus 46% of those unemployed are looking for work…) and 4 are no longer looking for a work opportunity.
  • In 2008, 26 were unemployed and looking for work
  • The average of people earning money in each household is 1,46:
Number earning money %
Earn no money/students 6
1 51
2 32
3+ 7
Refused 4
  • More than one in every five (22%) refused to share information about the household income and more than four in every ten (42%) have a household income of less than R5,000 per month.
Income category %
No income 4
Up to R999 per month 6
R1,000-R1,399 per month 10
R1,400-R2,499 per month 10
R2,500-R4,999 per month 12
R5,000-R9,999 per month 11
R10,000-R19,999 per month 5
R20,000+ per month 4
Refused 22
Don’t Know 16
  • Education qualifications probably need some attention as 51 do NOT have matric (although we can assume that most of the group between 15 and 20 years old are still at school).
Level of education %
No education 2
Some primary/primary school completed 14
Some high school 35
Matric completed 35
Artisan certificate 4
Technikon/Technical qualification/professional or secretarial qualification 7
University degree 3

If the village consisted of voters only (those 18 years and older) the following would be true

  • 63 will vote for the ANC if there were an election tomorrow; 18 for the Democratic Alliance; 2 for the IFP; 1 for Cope; 2 for other parties and 14 don’t know or will not say or will spoil their ballot papers
  • For 25 there is no political party that represents their views (this was 20 in 2008)
  • 52 believe that children in South Africa have good future prospects
  • 40 believe that race relations in teh country are improving (14 say race relations are deteriorating)
  • 45 believe the country is going in the right direction and 33 are saying it is going in the wrong direction
  • 56 are saying that the government is doing very well or fairly well with the promotion of nation building in South Africa.

A wider view:

If we look at South Africa as a whole the current population distribution is as follows:

Settlement type %
Metro 36
City 8
Large Town 4
Small Town 9
Village 4
Rural 39

The provincial picture:

Province 1996 census % 2012 Khayabus %
Gauteng 18 22
Kwazulu-Natal 21 20
Easterm Cape 16 14
Limpopo 12 11
Western Cape 10 10
North West 8 8
Mpumalanga 7 7
Free State 6 5
Northern Cape 2 3

Sources:

Ipsos Khayabus, Demographic Detail. November  2011.

Ipsos. Socio-Political Trends. January 2012.

Ipsos. Government Performance Barometer. January 2012.

Statssa. Census 1996.

About Ipsos

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[1] 15 years old or older.

[2] All references to the situation in 2011/2012 are sourced from Ipsos’ Khayabus study. Fieldwork for this project was done in November and December 2011. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a nationally representative sample of 3500 adult South Africans and results were weighted and projected to the universe, i.e. the adult SA population.

[3] 1996 figures are from the 1996 Population Census, www.statssa.gov.za

[4] “The language you speak most often at home.”

[5] “Which South African languages can you read?”

[6] “Which South African languages can you understand?”.

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