An overview of the Quality of Life Survey
- Dr Julia de Kadt
The GCRO’s biennial Quality of Life Survey, first conducted in 2009, measures quality of life and wellbeing, broadly defined, of residents in every ward of Gauteng province. In a face-to-face interview, randomly selected respondents are asked questions about their living and socio-economic circumstances, their opinions about service delivery and government, and their experiences, perceptions and opinions on a broad range of personal, social and political issues. The overall methodology, and a large proportion of questions have remained constant across survey iterations, ensuring that results can be compared over time. Survey results provide a tracking and diagnostic tool, affording a rich information resource for policy makers, researchers, and the public. Survey data is freely available for download through the DataFirst service at UCT.
The Quality of Life Survey is a partnership between government and academia. It is funded by financial contributions from provincial and local government, and in-kind contributions from the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. The survey is conducted and analysed independently by the GCRO and to the highest academic standards, to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the data.
The most recent survey iteration, Quality of Life 6 (2020/21) was conducted in the aftermath of the arrival of COVID-19 in South Africa, during a particularly challenging period in our recent history. A sample of 13 616 respondents were interviewed, across all wards of Gauteng province, offering insight into the impact of the pandemic in the province. Thematic focus areas included COVID-19, experiences of violence, and hunger and food security. Planning and implementation of this sixth survey iteration was strongly informed by the recommendations emerging from the ten-year review of the Quality of Life Survey.
Each survey project page provides further detail on the survey iteration, and allows for the download of key documentation:
- Quality of Life Survey 6 (2020/21), with a final sample of 13 616 respondents in Gauteng. This was the first survey iteration conducted after the ten-year review and to benefit from many of the expert recommendations that emerged from that process.
- Quality of Life Survey V (2017/18), provides data from 24 889 respondents in Gauteng. This was the first survey to benefit from live quality control of incoming data, and a dedicated senior researcher in the GCRO.
- Quality of Life Survey IV (2015/16), featured the largest sample size, with 30 002 respondents. This was the first survey iteration in which all aspects of data collection were fully digitised.
- Quality of Life Survey III (2013/14), provides data from 27 490 respondents. This was the first survey iteration to receive additional support from Gauteng's metropolitan municipalities.
- Quality of Life Survey II (2011) provides data on 16 729 respondents.
- Quality of Life Survey I (2009), the inaugural survey in the series, provides data on 6 636 respondents. It is the only survey in the series to include data from outside of Gauteng province.
Access and view our data
- All the Quality of Life survey datasets and relevant technical documentation are available for download through DataFirst. Data is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Questions regarding data access and analysis can be directed to the GCRO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Quality of Life Index scores can be viewed spatially and over time through our interactive visualisation.
- A summary of Quality of Life V (2017/18) results is accessible using our newly developed GCRO Quality of Life Survey WaziMaps viewer.
- Quality of Life 6 (2020/21): data analysis, and preparation of GCRO outputs and academic articles, is ongoing.
- Quality of Life ten-year review: Occasional paper under preparation.
- Quality of Life pilot project.
- Quality of Life 7: preliminary planning underway.
Last updated: 26 August 2021.