General Household Survey, 2018

Housing projects are not reducing the percentage of households in informal dwellings. The survey shows that 81,1% of all households resided in formal dwellings in 2018. Although the percentage of households that have received some kind of government subsidy to access housing has increased from 5,6% in 2002 to 13,6% by 2018, 13,1% of households were still living in informal dwellings. This is according to the results of the latest General Household 2018 survey released by Statistics South Africa today.


The GHS reports reveal that household growth is outpacing population growth. While the population has increased by 1,3% per annum over the period 2002-2018, the number of households increased by 2,4% per annum over the same period, a growth of 48,9% over the period. Since households are the basic units for service delivery, rapid household growth will constrain the delivery of basic services. More than one-quarter (25,7%) of households consisted of a single person, while 62% of households contained three or fewer members.


For some households in South Africa, social grants remain a vital safety net, particularly in the poorest provinces. The percentage of households and persons who benefitted from a social grant have increased decidedly since 2002. While 31% of persons benefitted from a grant in 2018, 44,3% of the household received one or more grants. Grants were the second most important source of income (45,2%) for households after salaries (64,8%), and the main source of income for almost one-fifth (19,9%) of households nationally.


While two-thirds of learners attend no-fee schools, lack of money still contributes to dropping out. The percentage of learners that attended no-fee schools increased from 21,4% in 2007 to 67,2% by 2018. Almost one-quarter (24,2%) of learners who have dropped out from school before the age of 18 years, however, offered a lack of money (‘no money for fees’) as the main reason.


According to the report more than three-quarters (77,1% ) of learners who attended public schools benefited from school feeding schemes in 2018, compared to 63,1% in 2009. Learners in Limpopo (91,2%), Eastern Cape (89,7%), Mpumalanga (87,8%) and Northern Cape (82,6%) were the most likely to benefit from this programme.

Educational attainment continues to improve.  The percentage of individuals aged 20 years and older who did not have any education decreased from 11,4% in 2002 to 4,5% in 2018, while those with at least a grade 12 qualification increased from 30,5% to 45,2% over the same period.


The report shows an increase in the percentage of households that was connected to the electricity supply from the mains from 76,7% in 2002 to 84,7% in 2018, was accompanied by a decrease in the use of wood (20,0% to 7,7%) and paraffin (16,1% to 3,6%) over the same period


Despite early gains in the provision of water, provision slowed down notably after 2014. Although the percentage of households with access to an improved source of water only increased by less than five percentage points between 2002 and 2018 (growing from 84,4% to 89,0%), the increases were much more notable in Eastern Cape (+19,0 percentage points) and KwaZulu-Natal (+11,2 percentage points).

The GHS report further shows that a percentage of households with access to improved sanitation increased by an 21,3 percentage points between 2002 and 2018, growing from 61,7% to 83,0%.


The full statistical release is available on the Statistics South Africa website:



Issued by Statistics South Africa


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