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Quality of Life survey V (2017/18)

GCRO launched the results of the Quality of Life survey V (2017/18) in November 2018. The biennial Quality of Life (QoL) survey, first conducted in 2009, measures the quality of life, socio-economic circumstances, attitudes to service delivery, psycho-social attitudes, value-base and other characteristics of the GCR. It serves as a tracking and diagnostic tool, affording a rich information resource for policy makers and the public wanting to see where progress is being made, and where concerns remain.

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.

Launch outputs

Press release 13 November 2018 - Extensive survey shows Quality of Life improving in Gauteng

Gauteng Premier David Makhura's response

GCRO news story including details of select media coverage

QoL V (2017/18) survey questionnaire

Insights from GCRO’S Quality of Life V Survey (2017/18) (uploaded 29 August 2019)

Quality of Life index indicators and dimensions 2009-2018

Marginalisation index indicators and dimensions 2009-2018

QoL V (2017/18) survey launch presentation - (Please note that this presentation was updated in June 2019, as a weighting error was identified. Results were not substantively impacted.)

Publications using QoL V (2017/18) data

GCRO outputs

De Kadt, J. and Crowe-Pettersson, K. (2020) GCRO’s Quality of Life survey: Sampling workshop briefing document. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory. Available at https://gcro.ac.za/research/project/detail/quality-life-survey-10-year-review/

De Kadt, J. and Crowe-Pettersson, K. (2020) GCRO’s Quality of Life survey: Survey management workshop briefing document. Johannesburg: Gauteng City-Region Observatory. Available at https://gcro.ac.za/research/project/detail/quality-life-survey-10-year-review/

Nino, E.C., Lane, S., Okano, K., Rahman, I., Peng, B., Benn, H., Culwick Fatti, C., Maree, G., Khanyile, S. and Washbourne, D.C. (2020). Urban agriculture in the Gauteng City-Region’s green infrastructure network. GCRO Occasional Paper No #15, Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Hamann, C., and Joseph, K.. (2020). ‘Quality of Life Survey V (2017/18): The quality of life of students in Gauteng’. GCRO Data Briefs, Gauteng City-Region Observatory.

Parker, A., and De Kadt, J. (2020). ‘Household characteristics in relation to COVID-19 risks in Gauteng’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, June 2020.

Hamann, C. and K. Joseph (2020) Quality of Life Survey V (2017/18): 'The quality of life of students in Gauteng'. GCRO Data Brief, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, July 2020

De Kadt, J., Götz, G., Hamann, C., Maree, G., and Parker, A. (2020) ‘Mapping vulnerability to COVID-19 in Gauteng’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, March 2020.

Hamann, C., Ballard, R., and Naidoo, Y. (2020). ‘Mapping three residential types: gated communities, informal dwellings and government projects’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, February 2020.

Mushongera, D., and Khanyile, S. (2019). ‘Participation in Integrated Development Planning’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, November 2019.

Mapukata, S. (2019). ‘Feeling depressed or hopeless in Gauteng’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, October 2019.

Culwick, C., and Mohulatsi, B. (2019). ‘Measuring accessibility of government housing programmes’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, June 2019.

Khanyile, S., and Ballard, R. (2019). ‘'Politics is a waste of time': an analysis of who agrees with this statement’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, April 2019.

Hamann, C., and De Kadt, J. (2019). ‘The use of public services in Gauteng’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, March 2019.

Hamann, C. (2018). ‘Mapping debt’, GCRO Map of the Month, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, November 2018.

Academic publications

Acuto, M., Dickey, A., Butcher, S. and Washbourne, C.L. (2020). Mobilising urban knowledge in an infodemic: Urban observatories, sustainable development and the COVID-19 crisis. World Development, p.105295.

Dlamini, S. (2020). Spatial and Demographic Characterisation of Environmental Perceptions, Attitudes and Place Attachment: The case of Gauteng (Doctoral thesis). Johannesburg: University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Available at http://hdl.handle.net/10210/458420

Oguttu, J.W. and Ncayiyana, J. (2020). Social capital and self-rated health of residents of Gauteng: Does area level deprivation influence the relationship?. SSM-Population Health, p.100607.

Morgan, N. (2020). The stickiness of cycling: residential relocation and changes in utility cycling in Johannesburg. Journal of Transport Geography, 85, p.102734.

de V Castelyn, C., Viljoen, I.M., Dhai, A. and Pepper, M.S. (2020). Resource allocation during COVID-19: A focus on vulnerable populations. South African Journal of Bioethics and Law, 13(1).

Palfreman, J. (2020). # Blessed: the blesser phenomenon: transactional sex and intergenerational relationships in urban South Africa. Master’s Thesis, Lund University.

Dlamini, S., Tesfamichael, S.G., Shiferaw, Y.A. and Mokhele, T. (2020). Socio-demographic determinants of place attachment in Gauteng, South Africa, using partial proportional odds models. GeoJournal.

Gibson, L., and Rush, D. (2020). Novel coronavirus in Cape Town informal settlements: feasibility of using informal dwelling outlines to identify high risk areas for COVID-19 transmission from a social distancing perspective. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 6(2), p.e18844.

Bischoff-Mattson, Z., Maree, G., Vogel, C., Lynch, A., Olivier, D. and Terblanche, D. (2020). Shape of a water crisis: practitioner perspectives on urban water scarcity and ‘Day Zero’in South Africa. Water Policy, 22(2), pp.193-210.

Culwick, C., and Patel, Z. (2020). Building just and sustainable cities through government housing developments. Environment and Urbanization, 32(1), pp.133-154.

Quality of Life Survey background

A significant fieldwork operation

The Quality of Life survey is achieved through our partnerships with government and academia. Two metropolitan municipalities – Ekurhuleni, and Johannesburg – have contributed significant funding for QoL V (2017/18), allowing us to realise a ward-representative sample and to facilitate a robust working partnership across the various spheres of government in the GCR. The questionnaire was refined and, with input from a range of stakeholders, addresses some of the key challenges facing the GCR. In the QoL V (2017/18) survey, respondents were asked over 200 questions, covering topics such as basic services, satisfaction with government, transport and mobility, livelihoods, local community and neighbourhood dynamics, health and well-being, migration, as well as political and social values and attitudes. Many questions remained unchanged from previous QoL surveys, meaning that the data can tell us about changes in the GCR over time.

Fieldwork for the QoL V (2017/18) survey was implemented in partnership with ResearchGo, an entity of the University of Johannesburg. ResearchGo contracted data collectors through Harambee youth employment accelerator, providing young unemployed Gauteng residents with work experience, income, and skills training. Using ResearchGo’s innovative electronic data collection system, GCRO and ResearchGo worked together closely to monitor data collection on a live basis, ensuring the highest possible data quality and integrity.

The final dataset includes 24 889 respondents, from each and every ward in Gauteng. This large sample size enables multiple approaches to analysis, mapping and modelling, and provides all spheres of government with critical, local-level data needed to ensure the effectiveness of their programmes. As with previous surveys Professor Emeritus Paul Fatti (University of the Witwatersrand) has assisted the GCRO team in ensuring the quality of the survey design, and sampling methodology.

Frequently asked questions

Click here for the full PDF document

How is the data from the Quality of Life survey used? (Click here for interactive version)

How many people request to use Quality of Life data?

Who uses the data from the Quality of Life survey?

How does the size of the Quality of Life 2017/18 survey compare to other South African surveys?(Click here for interactive version)

What subjects are covered in the questions of the Quality of Life survey? (Click here for interactive version)

Technical details

How are the interview sites selected?

How is the respondent at an interview site selected?

What quality control measures are used?

How we weight the Quality of Life V 2017/18 survey results

Quick facts about the Quality of Life survey V (2017/18)

  • 80-90 fieldworkers per day conducted surveys
  • The survey asks 248 questions across 14 categories
  • There were 257 days of fieldwork
  • All 529 Gauteng wards were surveyed
  • A total of 24 889 adult respondents were included in the final results
  • All interviews combined took 1 020 856 minutes

The history of the GCRO’s Quality of Life survey

The first QoL survey, with 6 636 respondents in Gauteng and the economic hotspots in the broader GCR, was commissioned in 2009. A second QoL survey was completed in 2011, this time with 16 729 sample points across Gauteng. The third QoL survey conducted in 2013 saw the initiation of a provincial/local sphere partnership and provided data to ward level, with a massive sample of 27 490 respondents. The fourth QoL survey commissioned in 2015 was the largest social attitudes survey ever conducted in the Gauteng province, boasting over 30 000 respondents.

Since 2009 GCRO has conducted 5 Quality of Life surveys:

5 QoL surveys

Quality of Life Survey Data (2015 and earlier)

QoL Viewer

Ward profile viewer

GIS Website

Other Quality of Life surveys

Quality of Life 2020/21 Survey

Quality of Life survey IV (2015/16)

Quality of Life survey III (2013/14)

Quality of Life survey II (2011)

Quality of life survey I (2009)

Last updated: 19 April 2021.

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