The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) is a household-based sample survey conducted by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). It collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years or older who live in South Africa. Since 2008, Stats SA have generated an annual report which is released under the name "Labour Market Dynamics in South Africa". This report is constructed using data from a version of the pooled data from all four quarters (all four QLFS datasets in the year) and is ascribed the same nomenclature. Includes a number of extra variables (including income information) that are not available in any of the QLFS data files. This makes it distinct from a datafile that simply appends all of the QLFS datafiles in a given year.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
v1.0: Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
INDIVIDUALS: labour market activity, labour preferences, labour market history, demographic characteristics, marital status, employment status, education, grants, tax, income.
Health Systems & Financing
Social Protection (includes Pensions, Safety Nets, Social Funds)
The QLFS sample covers the non-institutional population except for those in workers' hostels. However, persons living in private dwelling units within institutions are enumerated. For example, within a school compound, one would enumerate the schoolmaster's house and teachers' accommodation because these are private dwellings. Students living in a dormitory on the school compound would, however, be excluded.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
The QLFS frame has been developed as a general purpose household survey frame that can be used by all other household surveys irrespective of the sample size requirement of the survey. The sample size for the QLFS is roughly 30 000 dwellings per quarter.
The sample is based on information collected during the 2001 Population Census conducted by Stats SA. In preparation for the 2001 Census, the country was divided into 80 787 enumeration areas (EAs). Stats SA's household-based surveys use a Master Sample of Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) which comprises of EAs that are drawn from across the country.
The sample is designed to be representative at the provincial level and within provinces at the metro/non-metro level. Within the metros, the sample is further distributed by geography type. The four geography types are: urban formal, urban informal, farms and tribal. This implies, for example, that within a metropolitan area the sample is representative at the different geography types that may exist within that metro.
The current sample size is 3 080 PSUs. It is divided equally into four sub-groups or panels called rotation groups. The rotation groups are designed in such a way that each of these groups has the same distribution pattern as that which is observed in the whole sample. They are numbered from one to four and these numbers also correspond to the quarters of the year in which the sample will be rotated for the particular group.
The sample for the QLFS is based on a stratified two-stage design with probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling of primary sampling units (PSUs) in the first stage, and sampling of dwelling units (DUs) with systematic sampling in the second stage.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
University of Cape Town
Statistics South Africa. Labour Market Dynamics in South Africa 2009 [dataset]. Version 2.0. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2009. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2012.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.