Understanding Census Data

Iipumbu Sakaria

The preliminary census results for the 2023 population and housing census have been released on 13 March, revealing that Namibia’s population has reached the three-million mark.

Comparing this growth to previous census results shows us that in 1991 Namibia’s population stood at 1,4 million people.

In 2001 the population rose to 1,8 million and during the previous census in 2011 the population stood at 2,1 million people.

As of 2023, the preliminary population of Namibia stands at 3 022 401 people.

The population count includes everyone who was present in Namibia during the reference night of counting people and is not limited to Namibian citizens only.

Once the main report is out later in the year, it would be possible to fully understand the composition of the Namibian population.

In terms of rural and urban population dynamics, the population is clearly moving into urban areas as currently the population in urban areas has increased by 65,6% since the last census, while the rural population has increased by 26,3%.

This obviously gives town planners serious things to think about as most people moving to urban areas require and expect services from various town councils.

The population proportions by age are also significant.

Currently 37% of the population consists of people between the ages of 0 and 14 years.

The working age population, 15 to 59, stands at 56,1%, while the population of those above 60 years stands at 6,8%.

Those aged between 15 and 34 stand at 34,1%, while those under the age of 35 comprise 71,1% of the population.

The number of households in the country has increased from 464 839 in 2011 to 756 339 in 2023.

The average household size is declining, though, as people tend to have fewer children today, than in the past.

Hence, this figure declined from 4,4 people per household to 3,8.

Regional statistics tell us that Khomas is still the most populated region, with close to half a million inhabitants.

The exact figure stands at 494 605 people.

This is closely followed by the Ohangwena and Omusati regions with a population of 337 729 and 257 302, respectively.

The least populated region in Namibia is the Omaheke region, which has a population of 102 881 people, closely followed by the
//Kharas region, with 109 893 inhabitants.

Analysing the population trend since the last census in 2011, we can see that the Erongo, Kavango East and Zambezi regions experienced a population percentage change growth of 59,3%, 59,6% and 57,3%, respectively, for those regions.

The snallest percentage change was experienced in the Oshana, Omusati and Hardap regions, with 30,6%, 30,2%, as well as 34,2%, respectively.

In terms of gender ratio, women still outnumber men in Namibia, with a ratio of 95.

This essentially means for every 100 women there are 95 men in the country.

This figure varies from region to region.

Going forward, the NSA will continue to release more data from the census, which will include the 14 regional reports, a labour force report, the population atlas, fertility, mortality and migration reports, as well as population projections.

All these statistics will be available and the nation may request these for their own use.

Once again, thank you for participating in the census as you have enabled the collection, production, analysis and dissemination of statistics for development.

  • Iipumbu Sakaria is the manager of corporate communications at the Namibia Statistics Agency.

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