Photography by:
  • Gareth Pon & Jhono Bennet

Quality of Life Survey II (2011)

In 2009, GCRO commissioned its first ‘Quality of Life’ survey, in order to analyse the quality of life of citizens, identify key areas and groups needing intervention and support, and provide an holistic assessment of life in the Gauteng City-region – not just looking at Gross Domestic Product, or Value Add, or similar economic measures, but including the values and attitudes of citizens, their levels of social capital, alienation, anomie, and so on. The survey, because of both the sample size of some 6 600 respondents, as well as its breadth and quality of analysis, had a considerable impact on government’s work, and enjoyed significant media coverage.


In June 2011, GCRO ran a highly competitive tender process and awarded the fieldwork contract for the second Quality of Life survey to DataWorld. In July 2011, the GCRO finalised the design of a revised questionnaire that balanced time-series data from the 2009 QoL survey with new data informing the projects in GCRO’s 3-year Strategic Framework. The GCRO also guided the sample frame construction and drawing the sample for the survey, as well as fieldwork training and other preparatory work for the fieldwork which started in mid-August 2011.

A separate company was hired to undertake back-checking to ensure quality, and backcheck teams were in field throughout the fieldwork process.

The contract with DataWorld initially provided for a sample of 15 000 respondents to be surveyed, and it was intended that this be completed by September. However, the sample proved too large for fieldwork to be completed before Census 2011 and fieldwork continued until December with 16 729 successful interviews. The much higher sample over 2009 was enabled by the use of new technology (digital pens), that allow for both the geocoding of respondents where they were enumerated, as well as the automatic upload of data to a central database, cutting out the need for the laborious data-punching process.

The 2011 wards were used as the primary sampling units, with 507 out of a possible 508 wards sampled in Gauteng – the exception being a ward in Midvaal where access was impossible. This ward has no respondents whatsoever – after over 80 attempts to get access to gated communities (with attendant domestic work facilities), with fieldworkers (of all races) escorted out at gun-point, we simply gave up. Elsewhere, some mine-managers for example continued to act as if they ruled fiefdoms, telling us when and who we could talk to – or more commonly, not talk to – making random sampling impossible. Again, this led to substitution.

The data from this mammoth sample were cleaned and tidied by Ross Jennings on GCRO’s behalf and Adhir Nursayhe from DataWorld.

The final cleaned dataset, banner books (which provide cross-tabulations of questions, demographics and municipalities) and reports on the sampling, fieldwork and weighting approach were delivered by the end of February 2012.

Dissemination of Results

Presentations on the QOL have been made to a number of structures and representatives. These include the extended EXCO on 22 May 2012 and the MEC for Economic Development on 18 June 2012.

The MEC for Transport in Gauteng used some of the preliminary findings on 28 May 2012 in a presentation at the Gauteng City-Region Public Transport Indaba. The Presidency referred to these same results when inviting the press to a visit by the President to Gauteng to experience the Gauteng public transport system during morning rush hour on 14 June 2012. The Premier of Gauteng, Nomvula Mokonyane, also referred to some of the preliminary analysis in her presentation of the political report to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 15 June 2012.

The formal launch of the 2011 Quality of Life Survey was held on Monday, 23 July 2012. Results were presented by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, and responses to the findings and analysis were given by the Premier of Gauteng as well as Prof Adam Habib, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Johannesburg.


All Quality of Life survey data is freely available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Data can be downloaded from the DataFirst service at UCT, or requested from the GCRO.

The QoL data is also accessible via the GCRO QoL Survey Viewer (together with the data from QoL surveys from other years). Most of the variables are selectable, with an option to crosstab by local municipal boundaries or a few other demographic variables. The results are presented as tables and/or graphs and may be printed or downloaded.

Alternatively, an overview of the results can be seen in the powerpoint presentation and overview press release, downloadable below.

GCRO QoL 2012 initial findings press launchv2 powerpoint slides.pdf (8 Mb - may be slow downloading or right click and select save target as to save to a file)
Quality of Life in Gauteng press release final.pdf

QoL II questionnaire

Media coverage:
The New Age

Position IT

Roodepoort Record

Quality of Life Survey Data (2015 & earlier)

QoL Viewer

Ward profile viewer

GIS Website

Other Quality of Life Surveys

Quality of Life 2020/21 Survey

Quality of Life Survey V (2017/18)

Quality of Life Survey IV (2015)

Quality of Life Survey III (2013)

Quality of life survey I (2009)


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