Unemployment in South Africa: Building a Spatio-temporal Understanding

  • G Weir-Smith
  • F Ahmed


The spatial understanding of unemployment in South Africa is often limited to provinces. This paper explores ways to integrate unemployment data from 1991 to 2007 to obtain a spatially more detailed understanding of the phenomenon. Creating such a temporal GIS is challenging because of the changing administrative boundaries and this phenomenon is part of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP). The MAUP was overcome by using proportional aggregation to the 2005 municipal boundaries. The  unemployment data were analysed spatially through mapping standard deviation intervals and spatial autocorrelation. Unemployment showed a spatial pattern over time in South Africa and municipalities with high unemployment figures over time were spatially concentrated. Furthermore, it is recommended that census data should be released at a small area level to allow more accurate comparison of socio-economic data over time.

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eISSN: 2225-8531