The GHS is an annual household survey specifically designed to measure the living circumstances of South African households. The GHS collects data on education, employment, health, housing and household access to services.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Households and individuals
v1.2: Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
Version 1 of the General Household Survey 2011 was downloaded from Statistics South Africa's website in 2012. This version contains old weights that are no longer available for download.
In version 1, answers to Q2.8a to Q2.9b from the questionnaire were not included in the data as the quality of data for these questions cannot be guaranteed.
The data files in version 1.1 contain revised weights. This version was released at the same time as the GHS 2012 (22 August 2013). Reweighting was necessary in order to maintain the comparability of population estimates used in the GHS based on figures provided by the 2013 mid-year population estimation model that incorporates the demographic findings of Census 2011. Household files were weighted independently of person files.
Mismatches between the household file v1 and v1.1 were found in the following variable: q418lan
The following variables were added to the household file in GHS 2011 v1.1: totalgrnt; disab; sevdisab; q22msal
Mismatches between the person file v1 and v1.1 were found in the following variable: q22msal
The following variable was added to the person file in GHS 2011 v1.1: literacy3b
Version 1.2 includes revised weights. This version was released at the same time as GHS 2017 (21 June 2018). It was decided to replace the 2013 series mid-year population estimation in the previous version with a the more recent 2017 series mid-year population estimation as benchmarks for weighting the GHS data files. Household files were weighted independently of person files.
In the household file in GHS 2011 v1.2, there is a variable called “totmhinc_recode_1596317097259”, which was not found in v1.1
The scope of GHS includes:
Demographic information: name, sex, age, population group, etc.
Tourism information: non-remunerated trips undertaken in the 12 months prior to the survey.
Household information: type of dwelling, ownership of dwelling and other assets, electricity, water and sanitation, environmental issues, services, transport, expenditure etc.
The survey is representative at national level and at provincial level.
The lowest level of geographic aggregations is province. Geography type and metro information is also present in the data.
The survey covers all de jure household members (usual residents) of households in the nine provinces of South Africa and residents in workers' hostels. The survey does not cover collective living quarters such as student hostels, old age homes, hospitals, prisons and military barracks.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
Government of South Africa
The sample design for the GHS 2011 was based on a master sample (MS) that was originally designed for the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) and was used for the first time for the GHS in 2008. This master sample is shared by the QLFS, GHS, Living Conditions Survey (LCS), Domestic Tourism Survey (DTS) and the Income and Expenditure Surveys (IES).
The master sample used a two-stage, stratified design with probability-proportional-to-size (PPS) sampling of primary sampling units (PSUs) from within strata, and systematic sampling of dwelling units (DUs) from the sampled PSUs. A self-weighting design at provincial level was used and MS stratification was divided into two
levels. Primary stratification was defined by metropolitan and non-metropolitan geographic area type. During secondary stratification, the Census 2001 data were summarised at PSU level. The following variables were used for secondary stratification; household size, education, occupancy status, gender, industry and income.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Statistics South Africa
Government of South Africa
GHS uses questionnaires as data collection instruments
In GHS 2009-2015:
The variable on land size in the General Household Survey questionnaire for 2009-2015 should be used with caution. The data comes from questions on the households' agricultural activities in Section 8 of the GHS questionnaire: Household Livelihoods: Agricultural Activities. Question 8.8b asks:
“Approximately how big is the land that the household use for production? Estimate total area if more than one piece.” One of the response category is worded as:
1 = Less than 500m2 (approximately one soccer field)
However, a soccer field is 5000 m2, not 500, therefore response category 1 is incorrect. The correct category option should be 5000 sqm. This response option is correct for GHS 2002-2008 and was flagged and corrected by Statistics SA in the GHS 2016.
Statistics South Africa. General Household Survey 2011 [dataset]. Version 1.2. Pretoria. Statistics South Africa [producer], 2017. Cape Town. DataFirst [distributor], 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/mv9d-0246