Population Census 2011: Distribution of Population Groups in the Eastern Cape

My earlier post concerning the recently released 2011 Population Census looked at the age-sex pyramids for Makana Municipality.  This week more data was made available on the Statssa website which has enabled me to take a first look at the distribution of population groups in the Eastern Cape Province.  Once again the data is recorded at the level of the municipality or metropole and that is what the following maps use as their spatial frame.

The first map shows how the 6.56 million people are distributed across the Province.  Immediately prominent are the thirty-six percent of the Province’s population which are found in the metropoles of Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Buffalo City (East London), with King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality (Umtata).  The long established east-west axis of high to low rural population is also apparent.

The black African population of 5.66 million is by far the largest population group and, not surprisingly, the geographical distribution is similar to the total population.  The eastern half of the Province was the former homeland of the Transkei and this is where the rural black African population is still concentrated. In the three largely urban districts of King Sabata Dalindyebo, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay the proportion of black Africans diminishes as you move westwards across the Province.

Almost exactly half of  the coloured population is concentrated in Nelson Mandela Bay. When it comes to the largely rural municipalities then their distribution is very much a mirror image of the black Africa population  They are concentrated in the western areas with numbers that diminish as you move eastwards.

The white population is overwhelmingly found in the two metropoles, along the coast and in the western half of the Province.

If we look back at the past two censuses the Eastern Cape has experienced a slow rate of growth relative to other provinces. In 1996 there were 6.15 million people, in 2001 it was 6.28 and now it is 6.56 million.  Overall 2011’s population is 4.5% larger.  Only the Free State has recorded a smaller increase of 1.4% whilst the Western Cape has increased by 28.7% and Gauteng by 33.7%. These figures seem to indicate out-migration from the Eastern Cape.

3 thoughts on “Population Census 2011: Distribution of Population Groups in the Eastern Cape

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  1. Fascinating to see the distributions demonstrated so graphically. But how reliable is the census? I don’t recall anyone approaching us last year with a form to fill in.

  2. Hi Harry and Eileen,
    You raise some pertinent points, here’s a quick answer ….
    Firstly there is no such thing as a perfect census …. it doesn’t exist anywhere.

    Secondly, all censuses have what is called an undercount (ie you weren’t counted). This leads people to say, well I wasn’t counted so it must be wrong …..

    To adjust for that a properly conducted national census will run a post enumeration survey – a sample of every population group, age-group and geographical distribution – so that the raw data can be adjusted upwards by the appropriate amounts.

    For Harry and I the net undercount for white males aged 45-64 was 17.8%. For Eileen it was 16.8%. The figures for Makana Municipality have been adjusted to allow for that amount of undercount.

    So the good news is that SA undertakes post enumeration surveys (PES) and implements their findings. In 2011 the national undercount was 14.6%, an improvement from the 2001 census when it was 17%, in 1996 it was 10.7%.

    In an ironic way your own experiences validates the census. You weren’t counted. Well that’s good news because the post enumeration survey showed that many people weren’t. If nearly everyone you meet has been counted and the PES says they weren’t then there really is clearly a problem.

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