Windhoek-The pace at which the number of people living in shacks is increasing, especially in urban areas, is frightening compared to the growth rate of conventional house ownership.
In fact, the latest Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) report shows that between 2011 and 2016 there has been a decline in the percentage of the population living in conventional houses and an increase in the percentage of Namibians living in shacks.
“The contributing factors to this pattern were the urbanised regions,” says the ‘2016 Namibia Intercensal Demographic Survey’ report released this week.
The report also shows that a significantly high number of Namibians – representing 13.7 percent of the population – live in privately rented accommodation as opposed to those who own a mortgage on the property they live, at 12.4 percent.
Naturally, the majority of the Namibian population (50.8 percent) live in rural areas where mortgage and title deeds are not applied.
Traditional dwellings being the most common housing units, make up 32.6 percent of the households in Namibia, followed by conventional houses at 30.8 percent while shacks account for 26.6 percent of the Namibian households. In urban areas, the shacks account for 39.7 percent of the households.
Shockingly, the report also reveals that there are a number of houses in Erongo and //Kharas regions that are still roofed with asbestos sheets, materials that have long been condemned as health hazards and banned in many developed countries. Erongo has 40 percent of its households roofed with asbestos sheets while in //Kharas region has 11.9 percent.
On the positive side, the report shows an improvement in the percentage of households with access to safe water. “Households with access to safe water have increased with 14 percent, that is, from 80 percent in 2011 to 94 percent in 2016,” notes the report. “However, more still needs to be done with regard to sanitation since about 46 percent of households in Namibia indicated that they had no toilet facilities. These households used bush, riverbed, or fields as means of toilet facility,” says the report.
The Namibia Intercensal Demographic Survey of 2016 is the first of its kind to be conducted by NSA since its establishment in April 2012. “This information is useful for evidence-based planning and decision making at national and regional levels and [to] assess the impact of the NDP5 and Harambee Prosperity Plan national development programmes,” said Statistician General Alex Shimuafeni. He added that the information would be used to monitor progress towards Namibia’s achievement of international targets, particularly in the monitoring progress towards achieving Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report also shows that young people aged between 25 and 34 years make up 55.5 percent of the urban population in Namibia while the young people aged between 15 to 24 years old make up 68.7 percent of the rural population. Young people aged between 20 and 29 years make up 54.3 percent of the urban population, while the same age group makes up 51.1 percent of the rural population.
There are very few young people aged 25 and 34 years living in the rural areas. In fact, only 31.3 percent of young people in that age group are left in rural areas. With the population now estimated at 2.3 million people, many of the young people have trekked to urban areas.
Khomas region has recorded the highest number of people, with a population of 415 780, thanks to the migration of people from rural areas, followed by Ohangwena regions, which has recorded a population of 255 510, and Omusati region with 249 885 people. Khomas is recording the highest growth rate of 3.9 percent followed by Erongo region at 3.8 percent.