The Survey of Activities of Young People (SAYP) is a household-based survey that collects data on the activities of young people aged 7-17 years who live in South Africa. The survey covers involvement of children in market production activities, production for own final consumption, household chores as well as activities that children engaged in at school. Statistics South Africa collects SAYP information as part of the module of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) every four years. This information is gathered from respondents who are members of households living in dwellings that have been selected to take part in the QLFS and have children aged 7-17 years.
The first survey (SAYP 1999) was commissioned by the Department of Labour (DoL) in 1999, where Stats SA was responsible for data collection and processing, while the analysis and report writing was the responsibility of DoL with the aim of collecting and reporting on information on childrens economic activities, including working. The second survey (SAYP 2010) was conduted in the third quarter of 2010 and is intended to provide updated information on the economic activities of children in South Africa, including their demographic and socio-economic characteristics. However, differences in methodologies followed in the two surveys make comparisons difficult. Additonally, unlike SAYP 1999, SAYP 2010 includes analysis on child labour in South Africa. The specific objectives of the SAYP are to understand the extent of childrent's involvement in economic activities, provide information for the formulation of an informed policy to combat child labour within the country and to monitor the South African Child Programme of Action (CLPA) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG'S).
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Households and individuals
v1.1: Edited, anonymised dataset for licensed distribution
Version 1 of the survey made no attempt to classify children according to whether they are in child labour or not, but rather identified children who are involved in economic activities.
Version 1.1 of the survey included new weights for comparability with SAYP 2015. Additionally, as part of the revision process, Stats SA included a set of indicator variables to measure child labour which are in compliance with the Child Labour Program Action (CLPA) that is administered by the the Department of Labour in South Africa. The indicators are derived from questions in the SAYP 2010 and computed as outlined below:
Indicator1 - Where a child appeared to be doing work prohibited by Basic Conditions of employment Act (BCEA)
Derived from a logical series of questions: Paid work (Q31CUNPDWRK_LSTW), Unpaid work (Q31CUNPDWRK_LSTW), Paid work (Q32APDWRK_YR), Unpaid work (Q32CUNPDWRK_YR), Time (Q31ATIME_LSTW), Time (Q31CTIME_LSTW) and Age (Q13Age).
Indicator2 - Where a child appear to have worked long hours on all types of work combined
Derived from a logical series of questions: Paid work (Q31CUNPDWRK_LSTW), Time (Q31ATIME_LSTW), Own business (Q31BBOWBUSNS_LSTW), Time (Q31BTIME_LSTW), Unpaid work (Q31CUNPDWRK_LSTW), Time (Q31CTIME_LSTW), Do farm work (Q51AFARMWRK_W), Time (Q51ATIME), Fetch water (Q51BFETCHWATER_W), Time (Q51BTIME), Fetch wood/dung (Q51CFETCHWOOD_W), Time (Q51CTIME), Produce goods (Q51DPRODHHGDS_W), Time (Q59DTIME), Do construction (Q51ECONSTRUC_W), Time (Q59ETIME), Catch food (Q51FCATCHFOOD_W), Time (Q59FTIME), Cooking (Q71ACOOK), Cleaning (Q71BCLEAN), Washing clothes (Q71CLAUNDRY), Caring for children (Q71DCHILDMIND), Do maintenance (Q71EMAINTENANCE), Went to shops (Q71FSHOP), Other (Q71GOTHR), Time (Q72TIME), Cleaning at school (Q75ACLEAN), Maintenance (Q75BMAINTENANCE), Work in garden (Q75CGARDEN), Help teacher with marking (Q75DMARK), Help teacher at home (Q75EHOUSE), Other (Q75FOTHR) and Time (Q76TIME).
Indicator3 - Where a child was doing ‘market activities’ that interfered with schooling
Derived from a logical series of questions: Currently attending school or educational institution (Q22Attend), Paid work (Q31CUNPDWRK_LSTW), Unpaid work (Q31CUNPDWRK_LSTW), Own business (Q31BBOWBUSNS_LSTW), Paid work (Q32APDWRK_YR), Own business (Q32BOWNBUSNS_YR), Unpaid work (Q32CUNPDWRK_YR) and Hours worked (Q33TIME_YR).
Indicator4 - Where a child appeared to be absent from school or experienced difficulties at school because of work-related activities
Derived from a logical series of questions: Absent from school (Q25Miss_Day), Main reason absent (Q26Miss_Rsn) and Number of days absent (Q27Daysabsent).
Indicator5 - Where a child was doing hazardous work
Derived from a logical series of questions: Non market activities (Q60WORK), Injury (Q62INJURED), Prevent from work (Q63PREVWRK), Explosives (Q6110CHEM), Working at night (Q6111NIGHT), Carry heavy loads (Q6112HEAVY) and Operate any machinery (Q6113MACHINERY).
Child_Labour - Involvement in at least one form of child labour
Derived from response to at least one of the options in the indicators: Indicator1, Indicator2, Indicator3, Indicator4 and Indicator 5.
SAYP is a household-based sample survey that collects data on educational activities, economic activities, non-economic activities, health and safety issues, and household tasks of individuals aged 7-17 years who live in South Africa.
The survey has national coverage
The lowest level of geographic aggregation in the data is province. Stratification by metro is available only for the following provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng.
The SAYP covers children aged 7-17 years resident in a household. The survey excluded all people in prison, patients in hospitals, people residing in boarding houses and hotels, and boarding schools. Any single person households were screened out in all areas before the sample was drawn. Families living in hostels were treated as households.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO)
United States Department of Labour
South African Department of Labour
The Survey of Activities of Young People (SAYP) comprised two stages. The first stage involved identifying households with children aged 7–17 years during the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) data collection that took place in the third quarter of 2010 (Q3:2010). The second stage involved a follow-up interview with children in those households to establish what kind of activities they were involved in and several other aspects related to the activities they engaged in.
During the third quarter of the 2010 Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), children aged 7-17 years were screened and later interviewed for the Survey of Activities of Young People (SAYP). The SAYP interviews were not conducted at the same time with QLFS. This resulted in the reduction of SAYP persons as compared to the ones identified during QLFS screening. This was due to persons refusing to participate in SAYP, persons not at home during SAYP interviews, demolished structures, vacant dwellings, etc. Therefore, the SAYP weight adjustment accounts for those persons who qualified for SAYP, but refused to take part or were not available for interviews, and those that were considered to be other non-response. The final SAYP weight assigned to each responding unit is computed as the product of the QLFS person weight and the non-response adjustment factor. The sum of QLFS person weight qualifying for SAYP (for both respondents and non-respondents, excluding the out-of-scope persons) must be equal to the sum of final SAYP person weight.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The QLFS data were collected in the middle two weeks of the month throughout the quarter, while SAYP data collection was done in the last week of a month, also throughout the quarter. After the QLFS data collection, the District Survey Coordinators checked all the questionnaires for all persons eligible for inclusion in SAYP, and then the Survey Officers had to go back to those individuals and administer the SAYP questionnaire. It was preferred that children answered the questions themselves and alone, but in cases where this was not possible, they were interviewed in the presence of an adult (preferably the parent) and in some cases an adult would answer on behalf of a child.
SAYP sample is a sub-sample of the QLFS, therefore there are several factors that can contribute to the difference between population aged 7 to 17 years reported in the QLFS and the population aged 7 to 17 years reported in SAYP. For example, some children who were identified during QLFS did not respond during the follow-up interviews. Users are therefore advised to compare QLFS Q3:2010 estimates with SAYP estimates with caution.
The SAYP collected data in two phases using one questionnaire.
The first phase questionnaire covered the following topics: Living conditions of the household, including the type of dwelling, fuels used for cooking, lighting and heating,water source for domestic use, land ownership,tenure and cultivation; demographic information on members of the household, both adults and children. Questions covered the age, gender and population group of each household member, their marital status, their relationships to each other, and their levels of education; migration details; household income; school attendance of children aged 5 -17 years; information on economic and non-economic activities of children aged 5-17 years in the 12 months prior to the survey
The second phase questionnaire was administered to the sampled sub-set of households in which at least one child was involved in some form of work in the year prior to the interview. It covered activities of children in much more detail than in phase one, and the work situation of related adults in the household. Both adults and children were asked to respond.
Statistics South Africa. Survey of activities of young people 2010. [dataset]. Version 1.1. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2011. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2011. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/hg8f-a640