Namibians are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the Ovambo, Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, mixed race ("Colored" and Rehoboth Baster), white (Afrikaner, German, and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian (Lozi), Bushman, and Tswana.

The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia's people. The Ovambo, Kavango, and East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the relatively well- watered and wooded northern part of the country, are settled farmers and herders. Historically, they have shown little interest in the central and southern parts of Namibia, where conditions do not suit their traditional way of life.



country comparison to the world: 144
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 2009 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 35.9% (male 381,904/female 375,059)
15-64 years: 60.2% (male 641,995/female 627,146)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 36,894/female 45,667) (2009 est.)

Median age:

total: 21 years
male: 20.9 years
female: 21.1 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.95% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Birth rate:

22.51 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

Death rate:

13.3 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Net migration rate:

0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71


urban population: 37% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 45.51 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 55
male: 48.98 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 41.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 51.24 years
country comparison to the world: 205
male: 51.61 years
female: 50.86 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.69 children born/woman (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

15.3% (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

200,000 (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

5,100 (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)


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


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


English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages 1% (includes Oshivambo, Herero, Nama)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85%
male: 86.8%
female: 83.5% (2001 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2006)

Education expenditures:

6.9% of GDP (2003)

country comparison to the world: 26