This atlas presents a set of demographic, socio-economic and cultural profiles of South Africa in a clear and easily understandable format. The atlas contains chapters on: demography and housing, labour and employment, education, economic and human development, language, and religion.
Each chapter begins with an analysis of the subject by an acknowledged expert, followed by a series of maps, graphs and tables for a number of themes that explore the spatial variation among the 373 magisterial districts and nine provinces of South Africa. The impression gained is of a country with striking spatial discrepancies in wealth, demographic structure, economic indicators and access to services between regions and population groups. These discrepancies have arisen through historical factors such as - most recently - the implementation of the apartheid-based policies of government from 1948 to 1994. It is hoped that a consideration of these analyses will assist in the formulation of national and regional policies geared towards the rectification of the discrepancies.
The primary source of data has been extracted from the 1991 census of South Africa, supplemented where necessary by alternative sources, where available, for the former territories of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei which were excluded from the census. These sources of data were the most current that could be obtained at district level for the whole country.
The maps have been generated using the technology of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This technology facilitates the creation of maps based on an underlying data base of statistics and assists decision-makers to formulate appropriate policies by analysing the spatial and temporal components of a number of different socio-economic indicators simultaneously.
The resultant information will be of use to organisations and individuals working in the fields of - for example - economic planning, development, service delivery and the constitutional protection of cultures and minorities. The information can also be used for educational purposes and should be of interest to the general public as well.