Demographics of Namibia

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Namibia, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Namibians are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the Ovambo, Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, mixed race (Coloured and Rehoboth Baster), White Namibians (Afrikaner, German, British and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian (Lozi), San, and Tswana. The Coloureds and Basters share similar genealogical origins and cultural attributes (such as home language) but nonetheless maintain distinctly separate communal identities, as do most white Namibians and black Namibians, respectively.

The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia's people. The Ovambo, Kavango, and East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the relatively well-watered and wooded northern part of the country, are settled farmers and herders. Historically, they have shown little interest in the central and southern parts of Namibia, where conditions do not suit their traditional way of life.

Until the early 20th century, these tribes had little contact with the Nama, Damara, and Herero, who settled around the central part of the country vying for control of sparse pastureland. German colonial rule destroyed the warmaking ability of the tribes but did not erase their identities or traditional organization. People from the more populous north have settled throughout the country in recent decades as a result of urbanization, industrialization, and the demand for labor.

The modern mining, farming, and industrial sectors of the economy, controlled by the white minority, have affected traditional African society without transforming it. Urban and migratory workers have adopted Western ways, but in rural areas, traditional society remains intact.

Missionary work during the 19th century drew many Namibians to Christianity, especially Lutheranism. While most Namibian Christians are Lutheran, there also are Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, African Methodist Episcopal, and Dutch Reformed Christians represented.

Modern education and medical care have been extended in varying degrees to most rural areas in recent years. The literacy rate of Africans is generally low except in sections where missionary and government education efforts have been concentrated, such as Ovamboland. The Africans speak various indigenous languages.

The minority white population is primarily of South African, British, and German descent, with a few Portuguese. About 60% of the whites speak Afrikaans (a language derived from the 17th century Dutch), 32% speak German, and 7% speak English.

Population[edit]

Demographics of Namibia, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Census Results[edit]

Historical populations in thousands
Year Pop.   ±% p.a.  
1921 228,910 —    
1936 320,450 +2.27%
1946 362,460 +1.24%
1951 439,000 +3.91%
1970 761,000 +2.94%
1981 1,033,000 +2.82%
1991 1,490,000 +3.73%
2001 1,830,000 +2.08%
2011 2,104,000 +1.41%

As required by the Namibian Statistics Act #66 of 1976, and in accordance with United Nations recommendations, a census is conducted every ten years. After Namibian independence the first Population and Housing Census was carried out in 1991, further rounds followed in 2001 and 2011.[1] The data collection method is to count every person resident in Namibia on the census' reference night, wherever they happen to be. This is called the de facto method.[2] For enumeration purposes the country is demarcated into 4,042 enumeration areas. These areas do not overlap with constituency boundaries in order to get reliable data for election purposes as well.[3]

The 2011 Population and Housing Census counted 2,113,077 inhabitants of Namibia. Between 2001 and 2011 the annual population growth was 1.4%, down from 2.6% in the previous ten–year period.[4]

In 2011 the total fertility rate was 3,6 children per woman, down from 4,1 in 2001.

UN estimates[edit]

According to the 2010 revison of the World Population Prospects the total population was 2 283 000 in 2010, compared to only 485 000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 36.4%, 59.9% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 3.7% was 65 years or older .[5]

Total population (x 1000) Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 485 38.8 57.1 4.1
1955 538 40.5 55.6 4.0
1960 603 41.6 54.7 3.7
1965 683 42.5 53.9 3.6
1970 780 43.1 53.3 3.6
1975 906 44.3 52.2 3.5
1980 1 013 46.6 49.9 3.5
1985 1 150 47.0 49.5 3.5
1990 1 415 43.7 53 3.4
1995 1 651 42 54.6 3.4
2000 1 896 40.3 56.3 3.4
2005 2 080 38.9 57.6 3.4
2010 2 283 36.4 59.9 3.7

Vital statistics[edit]

Registration of vital events is in Namibië not complete. The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. [5]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR* CDR* NC* TFR* IMR*
1950-1955 22 000 12 000 10 000 43.4 22.9 20.4 6.00 172
1955-1960 24 000 11 000 13 000 42.7 19.9 22.8 6.10 149
1960-1965 27 000 11 000 16 000 42.3 17.4 24.9 6.20 130
1965-1970 31 000 11 000 20 000 42.4 15.4 27.0 6.30 115
1970-1975 37 000 12 000 26 000 44.2 13.8 30.4 6.60 101
1975-1980 42 000 12 000 30 000 43.8 12.1 31.6 6.60 88
1980-1985 45 000 11 000 33 000 41.2 10.4 30.8 6.20 75
1985-1990 50 000 12 000 38 000 39.1 9.5 29.6 5.55 69
1990-1995 56 000 14 000 43 000 36.7 8.9 27.8 4.91 62
1995-2000 58 000 17 000 42 000 32.9 9.3 23.6 4.29 55
2000-2005 59 000 21 000 38 000 29.9 10.6 19.3 3.81 48
2005-2010 60 000 19 000 41 000 27.4 8.6 18.8 3.40 38
* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)

Fertility and Births[edit]

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and Crude Birth Rate (CBR):[6]


Year CBR (Total) TFR (Total) CBR (Urban) TFR (Urban) CBR (Rural) TFR (Rural)
1992 42 5,4 43 4,0 42 6,3
2000 30,5 4,2 29,9 3,1 30,8 5,1
2006-2007 29,2 3,6 28,8 2,8 29,6 4,3
2013 29,5 3,6 30,0 2,9 29,3 4,7

Ethnic groups[edit]

A smoking Nama woman

The ethnic composition of the population of Namibia has last been measured in 1989,[7] prior to Namibian independence, when the population total stood at 1.4 million. At that time the relative sizes of the ethnic groups were:[7]

Ethnic group Percentage
Ovambo 49.8
Kavango 9.3
Damara 7.5
Herero 7.5
Whites 6.4
Nama 4.8
Coloureds 4.1
Caprivian 3.7
San 2.9
Rehoboth Basters 2.5
Tswana 0.6
Other 0.9
Total 100

Since then, a large number of Chinese is estimated to have taken up residence, estimated to have been 40,000 in 2006.[8] This would correspond to 2% of the 2 million people at that time.

Languages[edit]

Oshiwambo languages are spoken by 48% of the population, the Khoekhoe language by 11%, Afrikaans by 11%, Kavango languages by 10% and Herero by 10%. English, the official language, is spoken by less than 1% of people as their native language. Among whites, 60% speak Afrikaans, 32% German, 7% English, and 1% Portuguese.

Religion[edit]

Christian 80% to 90% (Lutheran 50% at least), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20% (see Religion in Namibia)

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics[edit]

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook,[9] unless otherwise indicated.

Sex ratio[edit]

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female (2003, 2000 est.)
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female (2003, 2000 est.)
15–64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female (2003, 2000 est.)
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female (2003 est.), 0.76 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2003 est.), 0.99 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

  • total population: 52.19 years
  • male: 52.48 years
  • female: 51.89 years (2011 est.)

HIV/AIDS[edit]

adult prevalence rate: 13.1% (2009 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS: 180,000 (2009 est.)

deaths: 6,700 (2009 est.)

Nationality[edit]

noun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian

Literacy[edit]

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84% (2003 est.) 38% (1960 est.)
male: 84.4% (2003 est.), 45% (1960 est.)
female: 83.7% (2003 est.) 31% (1960 est.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Census Summary Results". National Planning Commission of Namibia. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Kapitako, Alvine (8 August 2011). "Namibia: 2011 Census Officially Launched". New Era (via allafrica.com). 
  3. ^ "Methodology". National Planning Commission of Namibia. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  4. ^ Duddy, Jo Maré (28 March 2013). "Census gives snapshot of Namibia’s population". The Namibian. 
  5. ^ a b Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision
  6. ^ http://microdata.worldbank.org/index.php/catalog/dhs#_r=&collection=&country=&dtype=&from=1890&page=11&ps=&sk=&sort_by=nation&sort_order=&to=2014&topic=&view=s&vk=
  7. ^ a b Malan, Johan S. (1998). Die Völker Namibias [The Peoples of Namibia] (1 ed.). Windhoek, Göttingen: Klaus Hess. pp. 8–10. ISBN 3-933117-10-0. 
  8. ^ "40,000 Chinese in Namibia". The Namibian (as quoted in the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP)). 21 November 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2009). "Namibia". The World Factbook. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Namibian People