The 1970 South African Population Census was an enumeration of the population and housing in South Africa.The census collected data on dwellings and individuals' demographic, migration, family and employment details.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The units of analysis for the South African Census 1970 were households and individuals
v01.2: Edited, anonymised dataset for licensed distribution
The first version of this dataset, released by Statistics South Africa and downloaded by DataFirst on the 7th of September 2001, had 6 data files: for dwellings, households, Africans, Coloureds, Asians and Whites.
A subsequent version, downloaded from Statistics South Africa's website on the 4th of July, 2011 contained a merged data file for the Coloured, Asian and White population groups (resulting in 4 data files) and the variables were labelled.
This version is the version downloaded on the 4th of July 2011, with value labels added by DataFirst.
The scope of the South African Census 1970 includes particulars of dwellings (type of dwelling, number of rooms, and ownership) and particulars of individuals (relationship within the household, sex, age, marital status, population group, birthplace, country of citizenship, duration of residence at normal dwelling, religion/denomination, languages and literacy, level of education, sport and recreation, occupation, work status, identity of employer, economic sector and income). Particulars of the family are also covered, including children at boarding school, university or undergoing military training.
in-job training [3.2]
labour relations/conflict [3.3]
working conditions [3.6]
morbidity and mortality [14.4]
income, property and investment/saving [1.5]
religion and values [13.5]
National coverage of the so-called white areas of South Africa, i.e. the areas in the former four provinces of the Cape, the Orange Free State, Transvaal, and Natal, and the so-called National States of Ciskei, KwaZulu, Gazankulu, Lebowa, Qwaqwa, Kangwane, Kwandebele, Transkei and Bophuthatswana.
The lowest level of geographical aggregation covered by the data is place name (see the report "The 1970 Population Census of the RSA for a full list of place names).
The South African population census of 1970 covered all de jure household members (usual residents) of South Africa and the "national states".
The Census was enumerated on a de facto basis, that is, according to the place where persons were located during the census. All persons who were present on Republic of South African territory during census night were enumerated and included in the data. Visitors from abroad who were present in the RSA on holiday or business on the night of the census, as well as foreigners (and their families) who were studying or economically active, were not enumerated and included in the figures. Likewise, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps of foreign countries were not included. However, the South African personnel linked to the foreign missions including domestic workers were enumerated. Crews and passengers of ships were also not enumerated, unless they were normally resident in the Republic of South Africa. Residents of the RSA who were absent from the night were as far as possible enumerated on their return and included in the region where they normally resided. Personnel of the South African Government stationed abroad and their families were, however enumerated. Such persons were included in the Transvaal (Pretoria).
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
The 1970 Census was a full count for Whites, Coloureds and Asians, and a 5% sample for Blacks (Africans)
Deviations from the Sample Design
The country was divided into 400 census districts for the 1970 Census. In most cases the boundaries of the census districts corresponded with those of the magisterial districts. However, in some cases the boundaries did not correspond, particularly in the areas in and around the "National States". This was to facilitate the administration of the census and to make it easier to exclude figures of the "National states" from provincial totals.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
For data collection during the 1970 census RSA was divided into 400 census districts with a census supervisor in charge of enumeration in each such area. The enumeration procedures differed by area.The procedure in white urban areas was as follows: Prior to the night of the census, every enumerator whose ESD fell within the limits of any municipality or other urban are, delivered the applicable questionnaires to every dwelling in the ESD. Thus for part of the country the 1970 Census was conducted by way of distributing census questionnaires beforehand and collecting the completed returns after the census day. In cases where the enumerator was requested to, as well as where the respondent was unable to complete the questionnaire, the census enumerator assisted in the completion thereof.
In white non-urban areas, questionnaires were not distributed before census day except to hotels. On census day the enumerator had to hand the questionnaires to the householder for immediate return.
In black residential areas, enumerators carried out a comprehensive door-to-door survey. The particulars of all persons were entered on the appropriate questionnaire. Particulars were filled out by the enumerator except where the respondent indicated that s(he) wanted to fill out the questionnaire him(herself). Questionnaires were not distributed before census day.
Every household was enumerated on a separate questionnaire.
For the purpose of the 1970 census urban area was defined as areas with some form of local authority. Industrial and mine towns without any form of local authority and other areas not included under urban was defined as non-urban.
Statistics South Africa
The 1970 Population Census of the Republic of South Africa questionnaires were:
Form 01, to be completed by "Whites, Coloured and Asiatics"
Form 02, to be completed by "Bantu"
Form 03, for families, households and dwellings
Form 01 collected data on relationship to household head, population group, sex, age, marital status, place of birth, and citizenship, as well as usual place of residence, home language, religion, level of education and income. Employment data collected included occupation, employment status and industry type.
Form 02 collected data for African South Africans on relationship to household head, sex, age, marital status, fertility, place of birth, home language and literacy, religion and level of education. Employment data collected included occupation, employment status and industry type.
Form 03 collected household data, including data on dwelling type, building material of dwelling walls, number of rooms and age of the dwelling. Data on home ownership.
Data was also collected on the number and sex of household members and their relationship to the household head. Data on household heads included their population group, age and marital status. Income data was also collected, for husbands and wives.
Data on home ownership, household size and domestic workers was also collected, but for Urban households only.
University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town
Licensed dataset, accessible under conditions.
Publications based on datasets distributed by DataFirst should acknowledge relevant sources by means of bibliographic citations. To ensure that such source attributions are captured for social science bibliographic utilities, citations must appear in footnotes or in the reference section of publications. The bibliographic citation for this dataset is:
Statistics South Africa.Population Census, 1970 [microdata file]. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2000. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2011.
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