The 2011 Census results have been released and confirm that South Africa has improved the living conditions of the majority of the population. However, they also indicate that these improvements have not been enough to overcome the historical inequity fault lines. Race, gender and geographical location and disability continue to determine the rate and depth of access to services and benefits derived from the country’s socio-economic development.
Education: There has been a substantive increase in the percentage of persons attending an education institution between 2001 and 2011 (with the highest increase in the age group 5 – 7 years) and a substantive decrease in illiteracy levels. However, the black African and coloured population groups continue to exhibit the highest levels of illiteracy, with the highest rate recorded amongst black females older than 20 years (23,2%).
Income levels: Whilst there has been an increase in household income levels, women-headed households remain poorer, with an annual average income of R67,330 compared to male-headed households with an average income nearly twice as high at R128,329. The predominantly rural provinces falling within the boundaries of the former apartheid homelands exhibit the highest levels of poverty, with Limpopo households being the poorest, with an average annual income of R56,844, and Eastern Cape households the second-poorest, with an income of R64,539.
Employment: The unemployment rate is higher amongst women, at 34,6% compared to 25,6% amongst men, and is the highest amongst black African women; 41,2% of this group are unemployed compared to 5% of white men. The highest rates of unemployment by age group are amongst the youth, with a 50% unemployment rate compared to 20% amongst 40–44-year-olds. Unemployment rates are the highest in Kwazulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.
The number of orphans between the ages of 0–17 years has increased substantially since 2001 to 18.8% of the total population in 2011; 7,1% of the total orphan population are maternal orphans, which increased from 2,4% in 2001.The number of double orphans increased from 0,7% in 2001 to 3,7% in 2011. The highest numbers of orphans live in Kwazulu-Natal (30%), followed by the Eastern Cape (17, 4%), and Gauteng province (13, 5%).
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