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What is the Census?


The Population and Housing Census (PHC) is the single largest national data collection exercise that our country undertakes. As mandated by the Census and Statistics Act (No. 24 of 1983), the responsibility for conducting the Population and Housing Census lies with the Statistical Office. The Census and Statistics Act (No. 24 of 1983) further states that information collected on individuals and their household is to be held in the strictest confidence.

A Population and Housing Census consist of two components: a Population Census and a Housing Census. The Population Census collects demographic, social and economic characteristics of individuals, while The Housing Census collects the count and other attributes of households. Both collect the data in a specific period in time and within a defined geographical space.

The 2023 Population and Housing Census will be the first census utilizing a new method of data collection, which involves the use of digital hand-held devices to administer the questionnaire and collect the information. This method is referred to as Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and facilitates the undertaking of the Population and Housing Census in many ways.

With built-in validation rules and the ability for the Statistical Office to do simultaneous monitoring, CAPI will reduce data entry errors, collection time and the overall processing time to make the aggregate Census data available to the public. Using CAPI also means it will take less time to conduct the interview than the traditional paper questionnaires used in the past.

The Population and Housing Census is an extremely important national undertaking, as its results are integral for data driven national policies on planning and development. Your whole hearted participation is necessary for this to be achieved.

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