Population of Namibia 2017


Current population of Namibia is 2,484,780 people (July 2017 est.).

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 2017 est.)


noun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian

Ethnic Groups

black 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 indigenous ethnic groups include Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, San 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%


Oshivambo 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.)


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

Demographic Profile

Planning 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 stayedfairly 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, andmanufacturing 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 Structure

0-14 years: 36.97% (male 463,810/female 454,735)
15-24 years: 20.35% (male 251,838/female 253,823)
25-54 years: 34.37% (male 408,536/female 445,500)
55-64 years: 4.35% (male 48,529/female 59,543)
65 years and over: 3.96% (male 41,912/female 56,554) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 68.1
youth dependency ratio: 62.2
elderly dependency ratio: 5.8
potential support ratio: 17.1 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 21 years
male: 20.2 years
female: 21.7 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

2% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

27.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Death Rate

7.9 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Net Migration Rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Population Distribution

population density is very low, with the largest clustering found in the extreme north-central area along the border with Angola


urban population: 48.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 3.63% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

WINDHOEK (capital) 368,000 (2015)

Sex Ratio

at 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 Birth

21.5 years

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

265 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 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 Birth

total population: 63.6 years
male: 62.1 years
female: 65.1 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

3.29 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

56.1% (2013)

Health Expenditures

8.9% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density

2.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source

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 Access

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 Rate

13.8% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

230,000 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

4,300 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016)

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

16.8% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

13.2% (2013)

Education Expenditures

8.3% of GDP (2010)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.9%
male: 79.2%
female: 84.5% (2015 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 56.2%
male: 49.4%
female: 62.2% (2013 est.)