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Namibians experience moderate to severe poverty in the past year – Afrobarometer

Namibians experience moderate to severe poverty in the past year – Afrobarometer

More than half of Namibians repeatedly went without basic life necessities during the previous year, placing them in the category of ‘moderate lived poverty’ or ‘high lived poverty’ a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates.

The Afrobarometer team in Namibia, led by national partner Survey Warehouse interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,200 adult Namibians in October and November 2021. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of approximately 3% points at a 95% confidence level.

Christiaan Keulder of Survey Warehouse said the survey found that the proportion of citizens who suffered frequent deprivation of basic life necessities has risen steadily, to the highest levels recorded since 2006. “The most vulnerable are the elderly, rural residents, and those with little or no formal education and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the share of Namibians who went without a cash income ‘many times’ or ‘always’ increased by one-third,” added Keulder.

He emphasised that the key finding show that 8 out of 10 Namibians, 79%, went without cash income at least once during the past year, while majorities went without enough food, 64%, and without needed medical care, 57%, at least once. “More than half of Namibians experienced ‘moderate lived poverty’ 34% or ‘high lived poverty’ 22% during the previous year, meaning they frequently went without basic life necessities, which is an 11% point increase, from 45% to 56% compared to 2019,” said Keulder.

He further said that looking at the most vulnerable, one-quarter, 24%, of Namibians went without enough food ‘many times’ or ‘always’ and substantial proportions suffered frequent deprivation of water, 21%, medical care, 17% and cooking oil, 15%. “More than two-fifths, 42%, went without a cash income ‘many times’ or ‘always’ an 11% increase compared to 2019,” he explained.

Keulder said these numbers surpass previous peaks recorded in 2008. “Moderate and high lived poverty is more common in rural areas, 63% than in cities, 52%, and older Namibians report higher levels of moderate or high lived poverty, ranging from 49% of respondents aged 18-25 years to 63% of those over age 55, and citizens with no formal education or only primary schooling report the highest levels of lived poverty, 75%, and 73%, respectively, compared to 34% of those with post-secondary qualification,” he said.


About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

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