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General Household Survey – Important pointers to understanding markets better

Service delivery, education, social security and household incomes – these are a few of the areas that the 2018 General Household Survey (GHS) by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) from January to December 2018 sheds light on.

One of the key areas of the GHS is Health. The latest report indicates that between 2002 and 2018, the percentage of individuals covered by a medical aid scheme increased marginally from 15.9% to 17.1% in 2016 before declining to 16.4% in 2018. During this period, the number of individuals who were covered by a medical aid scheme increased from 7, 3 million to 9.4 million persons. More than one-fifth (22.6%) of South African households had at least one member who belonged to a medical aid scheme.

The report further shows that individuals were more frequently covered by medical aid schemes in the Western Cape (25.1%) and Gauteng (23.9%), and least commonly in Limpopo.

The focus area of individual and household assets, and sources of income, indicates that more than two-thirds (64.9%) of individuals aged 18 years and older owned a bank account individually while 1.9% owned the account jointly with someone else. A larger percentage of males than females in this age group (67.9% vs 65.9%) owned a bank account.

Approximately one-third (29.7%) of individuals, exclusively or jointly, owned investment accounts while more than one-fifth (22.0%) contributed to a pension. Ownership of both investments accounts and pensions were more common for males than females. By contrast, ownership of informal savings (e.g. stokvels) was more common amongst females (18.1%) than males (10.3%). Overall, 14.2% individuals owned informal savings.

The 191 page GHS outlines some achievements and challenges, as well as disparities in the level of development of the country and its individual communities. The survey has produced a rich set of information in a wide variety of fields and is a good source to better understand the market.

Click here to download the GHS.

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