Not exactly an explosion!
The Namibian population is expected to grow by only 700,000 individuals over 15 years from next year up to the year 2030.
This roughly constitutes an aggregate growth of 30% Releasing their population growth projections late this week in Windhoek, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) accomplished another first for the agency with the compilation of 15-year projections.
The region with the highest growth will be Khomas where aggregate growth of 60% is expected taking the population from 340,000 in the 2011 census to 645,000 by 2030. This constitutes 304,000 individuals. Erongo is expected to grow second fastest, increasing by 57% constituting 200,000 individuals.
Omusati and Omaheke will both show less than 10% aggregate growth while the compilers generally expect migration patterns to remain constant and the rural population to shrink gradually.
“During the period 2015 to 2030, the population is projected to grow from 2.28 million to 3 million or by 30%,” the Statistician General, Dr. John Steytler said at a press conference at the NSA’s headquarters in Windhoek.
Steytler said their projections raise questions regarding Namibia’s policy issues. “Where will everybody stay and what will be the implications for housing and house prices? How will the existing physical and social infrastructure of Windhoek cope with the higher population and what will the loss of productivity due to traffic congestion be?”
Fertility is expected to fall slowly with the population under age 15, projected to fall from 36.4% to 33.7% indicating the overall population will become less young. Driven by a sharper fall in rural areas, little change is anticipated in the percentage share of the elderly population for 65 years and older, remaining constant at 4.5% of total population across the whole model window.
The urban population’s share of the total population is presumed to increase from 43% in 2011 to 67% in 2041 covering a 30-year period from time of census.
This will see the country transitioning from a mostly rural society to a substantial majority urban population. “This rural area shrinkage will see a shift in service delivery as unit costs [in urban areas] come down” Steytler said stressing that the rural development strategy will be a dilemma that has to be overcome
Life expectancy at birth is assumed to rise by 11years for men and 12 years for women from the current 53 years for men and 61 years for women, from 2011 to 2041.
The National Total Fertility Rate of 3.9 children per woman is assumed to decline to 2.4 by 2041. Kunene has the highest total fertility rate of 5.3 children per woman which is expected to decline by to 2.9 in 2041. As a comparison, the fertility rate in Khomas will decline to 2.1 children per woman during her lifetime.
NSA Deputy Director for Welfare and Labour Statistics, Paulina Enkono said that this base study did not include the newly demarcated regions of Kavango West and East, due to the 2011 census not incorporating the new regions with only Erongo and Omaheke experiencing no change in constituencies from 2001 to 2013. She said financial constrains in carrying out further data collection also played a role in excluding the newer regions.
She further said that total emigration by age and sex is assumed at zero in 2011 and throughout the projected period net migration flows in and out of the country will cancel each other out. “Evidence for a net flow or outlfow of migration in recent years are ambiguous given the economic or social reasons causing the direction to reverse quickly,” Enkono said.
The report titled Namibia Population Projections 2011-2041 provide future population trends that are “essential in the formulation of national development programmes, as well as monitoring and pole-vaulting the implementation of development plans and programmes at national and regional levels.”
Steytler said in future, Namibia will be required to give projections up to 50 years. For the current report, taking uncertainty of longer projections into consideratio, a time period of 30 years was chosen instead. He said three factors contribute to population change namely, fertility, mortality and migration.
The collected data is available on the NSA’s website in three different applications. Steytler urged government departments and the private sector to use the detailed data available on the website to assist the formulation of future policies.