Statistician General Pali Lehohla gave Zuma and guests in Pretoria a brief overview of the results before Planning Minister Trevor Manuel formally asked Zuma to accept the results.
"This is the tale of our national pride, the South Africa I know, the home I understand, our census report," said Zuma.
The results would play a crucial role in public administration.
"The results are used to ensure equity in the distribution of government services and funds among various regions and districts for basic services," Zuma said.
"The progress from 1994 to now should be contextualised with the need for quicker service delivery and faster turnaround times," he said.
Migration trends were also important for planning purposes at provincial and municipal level.
"Census results show our people have moved from the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Free State to Gauteng and the Western Cape over the past 10 years."
This could possibly be attributed to higher economic activity in these two provinces.
On access to basic services, Zuma noted nine out of 10 South Africans now had access to running water.
From 1996 to 2011 there was a massive jump in the percentage of people using electricity as a main source for cooking from 45% to 73% between 1996 and 2011.
But the percentage of South Africans using paraffin still stood at around 7.5%.
"We know the dangers of this type of energy, especially for those of us who live in shack settlements."
Zuma said the provision of ablution and sanitation facilities would remain a government priority.
"Results reveal that the use of the bucket toilet system has been halved from 3.9% in 2001 to 1.9% in 2011."
Gauteng and the Western Cape had improved on the number of households with access to toilet facilities.
"Eight out of 10 people had access to flushing toilets in these provinces … much effort needs to go to providing toilets in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and KwaZulu-Natal," he said. – Sapa