The Informal Sector Survey was designed by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to answer a number of key policy questions on the existence of informal sector in Botswana. This was under perception that in recent years, there is rapid multiplication of informal sector activities all over Botswana and that informal sector has grown over time.
At the time of planning the survey, the only current relevant data sources within CSO were the 1991 Population Census, the 1994 Household Income and Expenditure Survey and the 1995/96 Labour Force Survey. Although this was the case these were not specific to informal sector but rather proxies that could be used.
It is acknowledged that in many developing countries, contribution of informal sector to household income is so significant to an extent that in some of these countries it exceeds that of formal sector. Employment creation in the informal sector is another factor that makes a significant contribution to the economies of developing countries. Indeed, for many people informal sector is a major domain in which they make a humble living.
The conditions of Botswana's informal sector activities in detail are not known empirically. The ISS was, therefore intended to collect data that would provide information required for shedding light on, among others, the following:
i. Contribution of informal sector to the economy's total output;
ii. Types of major activities in the informal sector;
iii. Proportion of workforce employed in the informal sector;
iv. Proportion of household income generated by the informal sector;
v. Size of capital investment in informal sector;
vi. Extent of informal sector's contribution to the competitive market in the economy as a whole.
In broad terms this will also provide data to complement existing data collected through 'Formal sector' surveys. All these are expected to broaden and improve data coverage to enable monitoring and strengthen on the National/Regional technical expertise.
The working definition of "informal sector business" was tailored to enterprise not registered as a company; 5 or less paid employees; informal accounts or none; expenditure not easily distinguishable from household expenditure; enterprise often temporary or mobile or in owner's home.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Unit of Analysis
Only private dwellings were within the scope of the survey. Institutional dwellings (prisons, hospitals, army barracks, hotels, etc) were not within the scope of the survey. Only towns (cities) and villages were in the scope of the survey. Cattle posts and lands areas were outside of the scope of the survey because informal sector activities either minimal or non-existence in these areas.
Producers and sponsors
Authoring entity/Primary investigators
Central Statistics Office (CSO)
Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
The sample for the Informal Sector Survey was designed to provide estimates of informal sector indicators at the national level, separate estimate each for 5 cities/towns, 19 urban villages and one global estimate for rural area.
A stratified two-stage probability sample design was utilized for the selection of the sample.
Of the 84,833 listed households 13400 (15.8 percent) households were identified to be business households. Out of these 13,400 identified business households, 9916 (74.0 percent) business households were selected. Only 8,420 business households (84.7 percent) responded and their data were usable. The business household response rates in urban villages were more as compared to cities/town and rural areas. In the interviewed business households, 5,580 individuals were found with informal sector activities. Of these 4,656 were successfully interviewed yielding a response rate of 83.4 percent.
The first stage was the selection of block as Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) selected with probability proportional to measures of size (PPS), where measures of size (MOS) were the number of dwellings/households in the block. A total of 447 out of 1,738 blocks (EAs) were selected with PPS.
At the second stage of sampling, the households were systematically selected from a fresh list of occupied business households prepared at the beginning of the survey's fieldwork (i.e. listing of households for the selected blocks). Overall 9,114 households were drawn systematically.
Dates of Data Collection (YYYY/MM/DD)
Mode of data collection
Type of Research Instrument
A Household Questionnaire was administered in each selected household. The Household questionnaire was divided into four major sets of questions, namely
i. Socio-Demographic Characteristics
ii. Education and Social Characteristics
iii. Employment Status and Other Economic Characteristics
iv. Eligibility Criteria for being an Informal Sector Respondent
All the eligible individuals from the household questionnaire were asked the questions on the individual questionnaire. The individual questionnaire was divided into 6 parts, each dealt with a specific topic.