On November 21, 2017, the Namibia Statistics Agency launched the 2016 Namibia Intercensal Demographic Report (NIDS). This is a report that is released in-between two census years.
For example, the last census was conducted in 2011 and the next one will be in 2021.
In-between those years, exactly five years in between, an intercensal survey is conducted with the aim of providing up-to-date data on demographic, socio-economic characteristics of the population and its housing units.
The purpose of presenting such figures in between census years is to update the statistics to ensure they remain accurate, timely, relevant and as required.
This NIDS Report comes with a lot of useful information that all stakeholders and citizens should acquaint themselves with.
For starters, it provides updated population figures. As it stands, we are currently 2.3 million people, instead of the 2.1 million counted in the year 2011. Also, in the year 2001 our population stood at 1.8 million, up from the 1.4 million counted in 1991. This means that since independence, the population of Namibia has increased by roughly 1 million people.
In terms of population density, the people per square metre in our country moved from 1.7 people in 1991 to 2.8 persons per square kilometer in 2016. Namibia thus remains one of the least densely populated countries in the world. This can either be an asset or a disadvantage, considering how one looks at it.
This NIDS Report further provides information on urban and rural area population dynamics. Whilst in 1991 a good 72 percent of our population resided in rural areas, we now have only 52 percent of our population in the rural areas.
At independence the urban population stood at a mere 28 percent of the population, whilst this now jumped to 48 percent in 2016. The head of households are still predominantly males; however this trend has been declining since the country gained independence. For example, in 1991 61 percent of all households were headed by males and as we speak, the figure reduced to 54 percent. There is also a trend in declining figures in terms of average household sizes. Whilst private households used to comprise of around 5.2 persons in 1991, this figure declined all the way to 3.9 persons per households in 2016.
The report also shows that Namibia has made great strides in providing safe water, toilet facilities and electricity to households. For example, in 1991 only 65 percent of households had access to safe water. This figure stood at 94 percent in 2016. This is a significant increase.
Other great strides have been achieved in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. This is a sector that has clearly seen tremendous increases among the population that has access to internet, access to cellphones and access to computers. In 2011, roughly only 9 percent of the population had access to the internet, 53 percent to a cellphone and 11 percent to computers. By 2016 this figure had jumped to roughly 21 percent that have access to internet, 75 percent to a cellphone and 15 percent to a computer.
Although Namibia has achieved a lot in terms of provision of housing, the statistics show that there is much more to be done. Whilst in 2011 a good 16 percent of housing was classified as shacks, this figure rose to roughly 27 percent in 2016.
Statistics speak for themselves and we encourage the entire nation to familiarise themselves with Namibian statistics, either through our offices, website, statistics mobile application, as well as regular statistical updates.
* Iipumbu Sakaria is corporate communication manager at the NSA.