Census 2011 Main Place Name Release
Statistics South Africa released Census 2011 data for the country’s lower geographic areas in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
This low-level geographic data, which is one of the most important data sets in a census, is expected to help councillors, city planners, policymakers, advocacy groups and ordinary South Africans to know their communities better.
“The place name is a reference point. It’s an emotional attachment of your community. You can differentiate it by name,” said Statistician-General Pali Lehohla in Silvertown, KwaZakhele, Port Elizabeth; where the Census 2011 Main Place Name Results were released.
Mr Lehohla released the results in Silvertown, one of many unique spatial spaces with unofficial names. In the Census 2011, the community of Silvertown informal settlement refused to be counted; demanding service delivery roll-out before they could be enumerated.
Releasing statistical data in communities forms part of Stats SA’s initiative of observing 2013 as a year of international statistics, whose theme focuses on improving human welfare.
The International Year of Statistics is a worldwide celebration and recognition of the contributions of statistical science.
Over a year later since the count, Stats SA released the main place name data showing how South African cities, townships, and villages had changed over time in terms of demographics makeup and access to services.
“If you just look at the aerial photos alone, we are seeing rapid urbanisation; the towns and cities are expanding quickly,” said Mr Lehohla.
“There is a lot of formal housing. Think of Midrand over the last 20 years. Also in several towns, there is massive emergence of RDP houses.”
He added: “The lower you are able to release the data, the more specific you can be with your planning and monitoring.”
But the biggest challenge for a statistical agency is the multiplicity of names enumerators find when collecting data. The 90 000 geographic names South Africa has refers to place names, settlement names, hills, rivers, veld, forests, mountains and seas etc.
“The people are emotional about it and care what people call their places. It is possible people would expect a name, but they might not find it.
“The large areas we call main places, and smaller areas inside are called sub-place names, and it is easy for larger areas to swallow the identity of small areas names,” said Stats SA’s Helene Verhoef, Manager of Geographic Frames.
“In small area statistics, size does matters. Smaller areas get incorporated in bigger place names,” said Ms Verhoof.
In that melting pot of main-place names, Mr Lehohla says: “The function of Stats SA is to ensure that every pitch of land area is named for purposes of data output.”
In this release, the data shows how place names changed since the 2001 census.
It can show you which languages are spoken in a particular area, and is a good reference point for several variables like water access, language, race, electricity, and income.
Data users can contact Stats SA user information service on 012 310 8600 on how to access main place name data.
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Tel: 012 310 4687