Country overview

Country Overview



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© UNICEFNamibia/2009/Manuel Moreno

According to the 2011 census, Namibia’s total population was just over 2.1 million people, a rise of 200,000 in the last 10 years.  Its population density was 2.1 persons per square kilometre, one of the lowest ratios in the world.  More than half of Namibians live in the five north-central regions of Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Kavango and Oshikoto. Together these regions, accounting for only 16% of Namibia’s surface area, have a population density of 7.4 persons per square kilometre.


Forty- three percent of Namibians are younger than 18 years. As a result of improved family planning and the waning of a post-Independence baby boom, there has been a significant decline in fertility rates since 1991. Consequently the population zero to four years old is smaller than the number of Namibians aged five to nine years. From age five onwards the population size steadily decreases, an age structure that is typical of countries with relatively high rates of fertility and mortality.


Namibia has 24 indigenous languages and major dialects, including Oshiwambo, Rukavango, Otjiherero, Damara, Nama, Silozi, Khoisan and Setswana, and three prominent languages of European origin, Afrikaans, German and English. Although English is Namibia’s official language, only 2% of households use it as their main language. Afrikaans remains the most common language across the lingua franca in most of the southern four-fifths central and southern parts of the nation, while two dialects of Oshiwambo - Oshindonga and Oshikwanyama - are taught in school. Most Namibians speak several languages beyond their main language. Some 90% of Namibians identify themselves as Christians.



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