Namibia People - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


2,777,232 (2023 est.)


noun: Namibian(s)

adjective: Namibian

Ethnic groups

Ovambo 50%, Kavangos 9%, Herero 7%, Damara 7%, mixed European and African ancestry 6.5%, European 6%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, San 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%


Oshiwambo languages 49.7%, Nama/Damara 11%, Kavango languages 10.4%, Afrikaans 9.4% (also a common language), Herero languages 9.2%, Zambezi languages 4.9%, English (official) 2.3%, other African languages 1.5%, other European languages 0.7%, other 1% (2016 est.)

note: Namibia has 13 recognized national languages, including 10 indigenous African languages and 3 European languages


Christian 97.5%, other 0.6% (includes Muslim, Baha'i, Jewish, Buddhist), unaffiliated 1.9% (2020 est.)

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 and to 3 in 2022 – 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 stayed fairly 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, and manufacturing 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: 34.38% (male 482,432/female 472,474)

15-64 years: 61.68% (male 834,001/female 878,865)

65 years and over: 3.94% (2023 est.) (male 46,235/female 63,225)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.3

youth dependency ratio: 60.6

elderly dependency ratio: 6.7

potential support ratio: 14.8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 21.8 years

male: 21.1 years

female: 22.6 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.8% (2023 est.)

Birth rate

24.68 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Death rate

6.64 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Population distribution

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


urban population: 54.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.64% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

477,000 WINDHOEK (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.6 years (2013 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

215 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 28.49 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 30.52 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 26.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.04 years

male: 65 years

female: 69.14 years (2023 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.94 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

1.45 (2023 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

56.1% (2013)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.9% of population

rural: 83.2% of population

total: 91.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.1% of population

rural: 16.8% of population

total: 8.6% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

8.9% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.59 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

2.7 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 70.6% of population

rural: 23.6% of population

total: 48.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 29.4% of population

rural: 76.4% of population

total: 51.9% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

17.2% (2016)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.38 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.37 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.16 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.53 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.32 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 15.1% (2020 est.)

male: 24.2% (2020 est.)

female: 6% (2020 est.)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

13.2% (2013)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

33.3% (2023 est.)

Education expenditures

9.6% of GDP (2021 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.3%

male: 90.6%

female: 92.3% (2021)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 40.4%

male: 39.4%

female: 41.7% (2021 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Namibia on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Namibia 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Namibia 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.