Welcome to Children Count

Children Count is a permanent data and advocacy project of the Children's Institute at the University of Cape Town. We analyse nationally representative datasets to monitor the situation of children through carefully selected child indicators. The statistics can be used by policy makers, researchers, students, the media and all those who work for the improvement of children's lives.

On this site you will find information about children in South Africa: their living conditions, care arrangements, poverty levels, health status and access to schools and other services. These child-focused statistics are based on the best available national data and are updated regularly. The indicators are interactive: click on the options you want and scroll down to read an interpretation of what the data tell us. Enjoy your visit!


Just over 20 million children live in South Africa. It is important to understand where children live and the circumstances in which they live because this helps to guide the direction of policy responses and interventions.


Income poverty & grantsIncome poverty & grants

The Constitution of South Africa, section 27(1)(c), says that "everyone has the right to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance". Over 12 million children in SA receive social grants each month.


Housing & servicesHousing & services

The housing context determines the environment in which children grow up, and the social infrastructure available to them. In addition to providing shelter and 'home', housing is inextricably linked to safety and security, access to municipal services, social infrastructure including schools and health services, and economic opportunity.



Education is essential for children to develop into their full potential. It is considered so important that human rights treaties prescribe that governments must provide free compulsory primary education for children. This is a minimum core obligation of governments in terms of international law.



The South African Constitution provides that everyone has the right to have access to health-care services, including reproductive health care. In addition, children have extra protection in that "every child has the right to basic health care services".



Nutrition is particularly important for children because they are still growing and developing. Parents and families have the primary duty to make sure that their children have food. The government has a duty to support parents in feeding their children if they are unable to do so.


Child abuse & protectionChild abuse & protection

Children have a right to be protected from harm and maltreatment so that they can grow and thrive. But many children face violence every day in their homes, schools, and communities.