Data Portal

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Ethnic and Racial Studies
Title Used for ill; used for good: a century of collecting data on race in South Africa
Volume 34
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 1-19
Data on race have been collected in South African censuses for a century. We examine the role played by the census in solidifying race as a social statistic and show that, in contrast to the majority of situations, operational and legislative factors rendered the census largely unimportant as a vehicle for doing this. Since 1994, race has been entirely self-reported and not subject to state reinterpretation. We examine the implications of this for future data collection exercises and caution against reifying race as a predictor of social outcomes in post-apartheid South Africa, and argue for its gradual phasing out.

Related studies