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
v1.4 Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
Version 1 of GHS 2008 uses old weights that are no longer available for download on Statistics South Africa's website.
Version 1.2 includes new weights for comparability across GHS 2002-2008. Person files were reweighted to reflect Community Survey 2007 results and update the estimates of the impact of HIV/Aids on demographic trends in South Africa. Household files were weighted independently of the person files in v1.2. The reweighting procedure was discussed in the report: "Reweighting of the GHS 2002-2008 data series".
As part of the reweighting, if individuals or household heads have missing values for age, sex or population group, these missing values were imputed. Where imputation could not be managed, these records were discarded. These demographic variables were also renamed.
There is a quality issue with "uqnr" variable in the tourism file of v1. This is fixed in v1.2.
Mismatches were found in the following variable between person file v1 and v1.2: "q16bhrsd"
Version 1.3 includes new weights for comparability across GHS 2002-2011 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.
Four new variables were created in ghs 2008 worker file v1.3: "status1", "status2", "indus" and "occup". "status1" and "status2" are broad and strict definitions of labour status; "indus" is derived from "q28indus"; and "occup" is derived from "q26occup"
Version 1.4 includes new weights for comparability across GHS 2002-2017 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 ghs 2008 v1.2 and v1.3, there are 3 additional digits of zeros at the end of the "psu" variable in the worker files. These additional digits are removed in v1.4 worker file.
Mismatches were found in the following variable between tourism file v1.3 and v1.4: "q3122nrn"
The variable “q120hiv_” in the ghs 2008 person file v1.3 is renamed to "“q120hiv" in v1.4.
The scope of the General Household Survey includes:
Household characteristics: Dwelling type, home ownership, access to water and sanitation facilities, access to services, transport, household assets, land ownership, agricultural production
Individuals' characteristics: demographic characteristics, relationship to household head, marital status, language, education, employment, income, health, disability, access to social services, mortality.
Women's characteristics: fertility
The survey is representative at national level and at provincial level.
The lowest level of geographic aggregations is province.
The survey covered 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 students' hostels, old age homes, hospitals, prisons and military barracks.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
The sample design for the GHS 2008 was based on a master sample (MS) that was originally designed forthe QLFS and was used for the first time for the GHS in 2008
The sample is multi-stage stratified using probability proportional to size principles. The first stage is stratification by province, then by type of area within each province. Primary sampling units (PSUs) are then selected proportionally within each stratum (urban or non-urban) in all provinces.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
GHS uses questionnaires as data collection instruments
The new programs that were introduced for weighting of the general household surveys from 2008 onwards, discard all records with missing values for age, sex or population group (for observations at household level, they are the values for age, sex or population group of the household head). This means that missing values of those variables were imputed. The emphasis was on obtaining reliable imputations rather than a 100% imputation rate, so some persons/households were discarded during the weighting.
Statistics South Africa. General Household Survey 2008 [dataset]. Version 1.4. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer]. 2017. Cape Town. DataFirst [distributor], 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/129x-7w47