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Tue Oct 21 21:58:21 SAST 2014

Census chief defends surge in SA birth rate

TJ STRYDOM | 02 November, 2012 00:05
COUNTED: President Jacob Zuma, flanked by statistician-general Pali Lehohla and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, at the release of the census results Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA

Statistician-General Pali Lehohla - and a panel of experts - yesterday assured South Africa ns that Census 2011's information was reliable and accurate .

Released earlier this week, the census recorded a sudden surge in fertility across the population that defied expectations and large-scale internal migration. This had resulted in Gauteng's population increasing by more than a third and the Western Cape's by 29% in a decade.

Two demographers at the University of Cape Town, Tom Moultrie and Rob Dorrington, criticised the data and methodology employed.

Both felt the results were rushed through. They were part of a group of experts who had to edit the census results before they were released on Tuesday.

Lehohla - dressed again in his trademark yellow suit - denied the release was rushed.

He saidthere was no reason to "keep the numbers in the fridge" any longer.

Howard Gabriels, the chairman of the Statistics Council, which has an oversight role, said that Moultrie and Dorrington's concerns were being taken seriously.

The council, he said, took the opinions of several experts into account and "did not take the decision [to sign off on the census] lightly".

Lehohla said Dorrington and Moultrie had ample opportunity to study the data, but that the "two eminent gentlemen" were too busy with other projects.

The panel assembled by Stas SA at the briefing yesterday made presentations asserting that the information on the migration and fertility rates is sound.

They argued that the findings of the latest census were consistent with the information collected in the 2001 census.

COUNTING THE COUNTERS

SOUTH Africans now know how many hearts are beating in the country, how many TVs, toilets and taps there are.

But what about a snapshot of the census that - according to officials - took more than 1.4million "man hours" to process.

According to Statistics South Africa:

  • There were 135380 fieldwork staff: 109496 fieldworkers and 25884 supervisors;
  • 66% of fieldworkers were female and 34% male;
  • 63% of fieldwork supervisors were female and 37% were male;
  • Most of the field workers and supervisors were aged between 20 and 24;
  • 103576 enumeration areas, which consist of between 120 and 150 households, were visited;
  • 14.6million dwelling units were visited;
  • 7108 vehicles were used: 5241 sedans and 1867 bakkies;
  • 13500 boxes were used to process facts and 225million pages were handled and scanned;
  • 2500 sheets of questionnaires were scanned a minute; and
  • 1800 processing staff were appointed. - Nashira Davids

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Tue Oct 21 21:58:21 SAST 2014 ::