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
v2.1: Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
Version 1 of the General Household Survey 2012 was downloaded from Statistics South Africa's website in 2013.
Weights in GHS 2012 v1 are based on figures provided by the 2013 mid-year population estimation model that incorporates the demographic findings of Census 2012. Household files are weighted independently of person files.
Following the initial release of GHS 2012, Statistics South Africa re-issued the data files. GHS 2012 v2 contains the files that were re-issued.
Note that only the household data file was revised, and the weights were not changed.
The following variables were revised by StatSA in the household file: q412agrant; q412anon; q412bmain; totmhinc
Version 2.1 includes revised weights. This version was released at the same time as GHS 2017 (21 June 2018). It was decided to replace the 2013 mid-year population estimation series in the previous version with the more recent 2017 mid-year population estimation series as benchmarks for weighting the GHS data files. Household files were weighted independently of person files.
In this version, the weight variable in the person file is called "person_wgt".
Mismatches were found in the variable "q422lan" between the household file v2 and v2.1.
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. The information of geo-type and metro 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 2012 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.
Mid-year population estimates produced by the Demographic Analysis division were used for benchmarking.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Statistics 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 2012 [dataset]. Version 2.1. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2017. Cape Town. DataFirst [distributor], 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/jpfy-2g79