Namibia: People & Society#

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian
Ethnic groupsblack 87.5%, white 6%, mixed 6.5%
note: about 50% of the population belong to the Ovambo tribe and 9% to the Kavangos tribe; other ethnic groups include Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%
LanguagesOshiwambo languages 48.9%, Nama/Damara 11.3%, Afrikaans 10.4% (common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population), Otjiherero languages 8.6%, Kavango languages 8.5%, Caprivi languages 4.8%, English (official) 3.4%, other African languages 2.3%, other 1.7%
note: Namibia has 13 recognized national languages, including 10 indigenous African languages and 3 Indo-European languages (2011 est.)
ReligionsChristian 80% to 90% (at least 50% Lutheran), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
Demographic profilePlanning officials view Namibia’s reduced population growth rate as sustainable based on the country’s economic growth over the past decade. Prior to independence in 1990, Namibia’s relatively small population grew at about 3% annually, but declining fertility and the impact of HIV/AIDS slowed this growth to 1.4% by 2011, rebounding to close to 2% by 2016. Namibia’s fertility rate has fallen over the last two decades – from about 4.5 children per woman in 1996 to 3.4 in 2016 – due to increased contraceptive use, higher educational attainment among women, and greater female participation in the labor force. The average age at first birth has stayed fairly constant, but the age at first marriage continues to increase, indicating a rising incidence of premarital childbearing. The majority of Namibians are rural dwellers (about 55%) and live in the better-watered north and northeast parts of the country. Migration, historically male-dominated, generally flows from northern communal areas – non-agricultural lands where blacks were sequestered under the apartheid system – to agricultural, mining, and manufacturing centers in the center and south. After independence from South Africa, restrictions on internal movement eased, and rural-urban migration increased, bolstering urban growth. Some Namibians – usually persons who are better-educated, more affluent, and from urban areas – continue to legally migrate to South Africa temporarily to visit family and friends and, much less frequently, to pursue tertiary education or better economic opportunities. Namibians concentrated along the country’s other borders make unauthorized visits to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, or Botswana, to visit family and to trade agricultural goods. Few Namibians express interest in permanently settling in other countries; they prefer the safety of their homeland, have a strong national identity, and enjoy a well-supplied retail sector. Although Namibia is receptive to foreign investment and cross-border trade, intolerance toward non-citizens is widespread.
Age structure0-14 years: 37.39% (male 460,016/female 451,058)
15-24 years: 20.35% (male 246,266/female 249,570)
25-54 years: 34% (male 395,417/female 432,994)
55-64 years: 4.25% (male 46,769/female 56,798)
65 years and over: 4.01% (male 41,518/female 56,063) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 67.3%
youth dependency ratio: 61.4%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.9%
potential support ratio: 17% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 21 years
male: 20.2 years
female: 21.7 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.98% (2016 est.)
Birth rate27.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 46.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.16% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationWINDHOEK (capital) 368,000 (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth21.5
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate265 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 36.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 38.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 34.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 63.6 years
male: 62.1 years
female: 65.1 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate3.36 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate55.1% (2006/07)
Health expenditures8.9% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
Hospital bed density2.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 98.2% of population
rural: 84.6% of population
total: 91% of population
urban: 1.8% of population
rural: 15.4% of population
total: 9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 54.5% of population
rural: 16.8% of population
total: 34.4% of population
urban: 45.5% of population
rural: 83.2% of population
total: 65.6% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate13.34% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS210,800 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths3,100 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate16.8% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight13.2% (2013)
Education expenditures8.3% of GDP (2010)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.9%
male: 79.2%
female: 84.5% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2006)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 56.2%
male: 49.4%
female: 62.2% (2013 est.)