South Africa census data shows that even though more households are gaining access to basic services such as clean water and electricity, a significant number continue to lag behind as the ruling party struggles to reduce the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Census results for 2011 released Tuesday show that nine out of 10 South African households have access to piped water and that 73 percent of them use electricity to cook, up from 45 percent in 1996. But 7.7 percent of all households still use kerosene appliances for lighting. Because kerosene is highly flammable, malfunctioning appliances can endanger lives.

President Jacob Zuma said his government is committed to lifting more people out of poverty.

South Africa's population stood at 51.7 million in 2011, up from 44.8 million in 2001.