Media Release: Eastern Cape Community Survey 2016 results


Eastern Cape’s population increased from 6,6 million people in 2011 to 7 million in 2016, making it the third most populous province in the country, behind Gauteng (13,4 million) and KwaZulu-Natal (11,1 million).  The number of households in the province has also increased to 1,8 million in 2016, from 1,7 million in 2011. The district municipality with the largest share of households in the province is Buffalo City (368 520), followed by OR Tambo (313 889), Nelson Mandela Bay (247 759), Amathole (222 415), Alfred Nzo (195 979), Chris Hani (191 356), Sarah Baartman (138 182) and Joe Gqabi (95 294).



Of the 7 million people currently residing in Eastern Cape, a majority (6,7 million or 95,4%) were born in the province. About 322 177 of Eastern Cape residents were born elsewhere in the country and outside South Africa. Of those born outside the province, a large number was born in Western Cape (101 400), followed by those who were born in Gauteng (72 921), outside South Africa (57 222), and KwaZulu-Natal (45 089). Between 2011 and 2016, Eastern Cape experienced a net-migration of -489 686, which was a result of 939 765 people emigrating from the province and 450 078 moving to the province from elsewhere.



Nearly two-thirds (65,1% or 1,2 million) of Eastern Cape households stay in formal dwellings, whereas a little more than a quarter reside in traditional dwellings (26,6% or 471 699) and less than a tenth (7,4% or 130 885) live in informal dwellings. More than half (59,5%) of the dwellings in Eastern Cape are owned and fully paid-off. About 12,7% of households in the province indicated that they are renting their main dwelling, and about a tenth (10,2%) of households own their main dwelling but are still to pay off their home loans. Less than a tenth (9,2%) of the of the households stay rent-free in homes they do not own.



Access to basic services

Three quarters of households in the Eastern Cape (75% or 1,3 million) have access to piped water.  The proportion of households with access to electricity has increased from 36,2% in 1996 to 85,4% in 2016. In 2011, 75% of Eastern Cape households had access to electricity. The number of households with access to a flush/chemical toilet increased from 776 222 in 2011 to 928 332 in 2016.


Poverty headcount and hunger

The poverty headcount in Eastern Cape has decreased from 14,4% in 2011 to 12,7% in 2016. Decreases in the poverty headcount were observed in all district municipalities between 2011 and 2016, except in Chris Hani, where it increased from 15,6% in 2011 to 16,4% in 2016. The lowest poverty headcounts were recorded in Nelson Mandela Bay (3,0%), Sarah Baartman (4,5%) and Buffalo City (7,3%).


464 838 of households in Eastern Cape reported that they had ran out of money to buy food in the 12 months before the survey. Nearly a fifth (17,6% or 311 263) of households in Eastern Cape missed a meal over the same period.




Note to the editors:

The Community Survey is a large-scale household sample survey conducted to bridge the information gap between two censuses. It is one of the few available data sources that provide statistics at municipal level, and it is aimed at enhancing planning, monitoring and evaluation at this level of government. The survey provides data on, among others, population, health, migration, education and access to basic services. The 2016 survey was conducted between March and April 2016 and collected data from 1,3 million households across all South African communities.


Issued by Statistics South Africa


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