25/10/2012 Statistician-General, Pali Lehohla, gives background briefing to the media ahead of the Census 2011 release. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Pretoria - The results of the 2011 national census are to be handed over to President Jacob Zuma and released to the public on Tuesday, a year after the process to count the country’s citizens began.

Announcing that Statistics SA was ready to release them, Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said on Thursday: “Census tells the story of a society. It shows the changes and developments that occur and it also points towards areas in need of development.”

Branding the results, “The SA I know, the home I understand”, Lehohla said: “The ship has docked.”

Lehohla said Thursday’s milestone briefing came 12 months and 15 days after enumeration started.

“We’ve done everything now and I can confidently say we are ready to release the results.”

Preparations for last year’s count began in 2008/09.

For just over a month, field workers, led by supervisors, knocked at 14.6 million doors. Among these properties, 4.7 percent were confirmed vacant, said Lehohla.

He said 20 000 people refused to participate in the census. “That is a small figure and is statistically insignificant.”

A pre-census survey had found that 90 percent of those interviewed were willing to participate, but some were prevented from doing so by migration and commuting patterns.

Lehohla talked about the “high wall and dogs” phenomenon and said this was characteristic of lifestyles. “It cuts across both rich and poor households and affects those who leave before dawn to be back late at night and it says: ‘I want to participate but I can’t’.”

The results, Lehohla said, were not just about the numbers, but about the way South Africans lived; how they worked; they talked about the structure of families; marriage types; poverty; health; and the distribution of wealth.

“The results talk of the racial composition of society, about rural or urban society, the allocation of resources; it tells a history, a story... it gives information at the smallest level.”

Lehohla said the information, once released, would be available across a wide level of platforms, including the internet and mobile phone applications. “It will be interactive and highly informative,” he said.

The results will include a 2011 fact sheet; provinces at a glance; and a report on municipalities. There will also be a super web report where people can look at data dating back to 2006 to see what changes have taken place and what the status is now. There will be spatial products and digital maps that can be combined with the data of an area to see growth, population, and trek changes.

“You can get all the information you want at your request. You get thematic reports on what’s going on in any part of the country.”

Lehohla said academic papers were already being written from the statistics and research. These would be coming out of the information, which would be used for developmental purposes.

Questions asked of household members included their income, family size, access to water and electricity, clinics and schools, ownership of electric appliances, and marital status.

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Pretoria News