Empowering communities through statistics

Do you know how many people live in your community? How many are unemployed? Do you know how many households in your area have access to safe water, electricity and refuse removal?

While information at a national level can be interesting, what people really want is to know about the place where they live. To meet this need, Census 2011 information at placename level was made available in April 2013.

One of the pillars of the National Development Plan is “active citizenry”. According to the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning, Trevor Manuel, active citizens take an interest in what is happening in their communities.

If the day hospital is unable to dispense medication, an active citizen will find out why and see what can be done. If learners are failing at a school, an active citizen will hold that school to account. Active citizenry is based on information, because with evidence of a community’s circumstances, citizens are able to bring those responsible to account.

In October 2011, Stats SA deployed more than 100 000 temporary staff to collect data from more than 15-million households. Information from this exercise, -Census 2011, was made available at national, provincial, and municipal level in October 2012.

The Census 2011 data equips you to play your part as an active citizen. You can build a profile of the community in which you live. You can also speak to your councillor to ensure that service delivery is improved.

Public servants can use this information to plan. In an area with many children under the age of five, plans can be made to increase the number of schools. In an area with an elderly population, a day hospital may need to be built. In an area with high unemployment, skills development programmes could be established.

Business people who want to open stores can also use this data to determine the best location for their store, by establishing which area is the best fit for their target market.

Census information at placename level is available from Stats SA’s offices across the country. If you want to know more about the area where you live, please contact us.- Tracy Daniels