By Iipumbu Sakaria*
AT independence Namibia had a population of about 1.4 million people which grew to approximately 1.8 million in 2001. During the last census in 2011 our population stood at 2.1 million people. Our projections show that currently, in 2015, we have a population of around 2.3 million. By the time we reach Vision 2030 our population is envisaged to be around 3 million.
With regard to the size of the country, in 1990 Namibia measured about 823 000 square kilometres. At the moment the size of the country is around 825 000 square kilometres. One might wonder how this can statistically change; but this is due to the fact that in 1990 Walvis Bay was not considered part of Namibia. The same goes for the 1991 population, it excludes Walvis Bay.
In 1991 our most populous regions were the Omusati, Ohangwena and Khomas regions. Omusati had a population of around 190 000, Ohangwena 180 000 and Khomas 167 000. By the year 2001 this picture had changed.
With a population of 250 000 people the Khomas Region became the most populous region followed closely by both the Omusati and Ohangwena with roughly 280 000 people. Up next was the Kavango Region with a combined population of 202 000 people. At the moment, and as per the latest census count in 2011, the Khomas Region is recorded to be the most populous region with a population of 340 000 people. It is followed by Ohangwena and then Omusati respectively. The two Kavango regions follow closely after that.
Since independence it is not only our population that grew but our economy as well. At independence our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at around N$27 billion. This jumped to around N$146 billion by the end of 2014.
The size of the primary sector stood at N$1.7 billion and is now considered around N$27.12 billion. The secondary sector also grew tremendously, standing at N$1.0 billion at independence and recording N$28.3 billion as per the latest figures. The tertiary sector grew from around N$4 billion at independence to N$81.6 billion currently.
Our labour market has also changed significantly. Unemployment has been rising since independence and only slowed down in recent years. In 1991 the unemployment rate was estimated at 19 percent through the Household and Income Expenditure Survey.
In 1997 an actual labour force survey was conducted which pitched the unemployment rate at a 34.5 percent. This decreased to 33.8 percent in the year 2000 before it rose to 36.7 percent in the year 2004 and all the way up to 51.2 percent in 2008.
Since 2012 the labour force survey was no longer conducted every four years but annually. Hence since 2012 the unemployment rates have been 27.4, 29.6 and 28.1 per cent respectively.
On the social scene, access to safe water was estimated at 61 percent at independence. Currently this figure stands at 80 percent.
Furthermore, at independence half of our population lived in traditional dwellings, 30 percent in detached housing and 7 percent in improvised homes or shacks.
At the current moment only 38 percent of the population lives in traditional dwellings, 30 percent in detached housing and a good 16 percent in improvised homes, better known as shacks.
A good 5 percent of the population live in apartments or flats and 9 percent of our population live in rented occupancy. This rate stands at 18 percent and 29 percent for Khomas and Erongo respectively.
• Iipumbu Sakaria is the Deputy Director of Corporate Communication at the Namibia Statistics Agency.