Sample size: ~5000
Coverage: The survey covers the African and Coloured populations of the Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain areas of Cape Town, South Africa
Included sections: Education, labour market outcomes, population, migration and religion
Data: The survey’s documentation and data are available from DataFirst
In June 1998 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the University of Cape Town $330 000 to pursue a programme to develop post-graduate training and research in demography. The programme incorporated collaboration between the Population Studies Center and the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan on the one hand and SALDRU working together with a team of UCT faculty staff on the other. A further award of $600 000 was made in 2001. The teaching component of the programme was firmly established in the period July 1998 to December 2002. The research component envisaged a Western Cape Area Study modelled on the Detroit Area Study run for many years by the University of Michigan. A preliminary survey of three magisterial districts in the Langeberg area of the Western Cape Province was undertaken in 1999. This had a particular focus on health.
In the year 2000 a small team of social scientists from the Universities of Cape Town and Michigan collaborated on designing a survey with a special focus on labour market issues as a precursor to the Cape Area Panel Study which began in 2002. After much debate and taking due cognisance of time and budget constraints, the team decided to target the magisterial district of Mitchell’s Plain within the Cape Metropole for the survey.
This decision was informed by the 1996 census which revealed that Mitchell’s contained almost thirty percent of the population in the Cape Metropolitan Council area. It straddled the two cities of Cape Town and Tygerberg, and housed nearly 74% of the African and over 20% of the Coloured metropolitan population. It included the three established African townships of Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga, as well as informal settlements such as Crossroads and Browns Farm. It also included Khayelitsha, an African township proclaimed in the early 1980s with the first houses being built in 1986. The 1996 census had recorded high unemployment rates of over 44% for Africans, and over 20% for Coloured people.