• July 16th, 2019
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Gearing up for the 2021 Census



OPINION


Iipumbu Sakaria

The Namibia Statistics Agency, as we should all know by now, is the central statistics repository of the state and hence responsible for the collection, production, dissemination and analysis of official statistics. What drives the Agency is the need to ensure that the statistics produced are relevant, accurate, reliable and timely in order to influence decision and policy making. 

It is for that reason that the NSA has already started gearing itself up for the next population and housing census scheduled for the year 2021 in August. One might wonder why the Agency is already putting efforts in place to do this. The main reason is that one can never be too prepared enough, meaning if you fail to plan you surely plan to fail. The second reason, of course, is that this statistical collection exercise is easily the most comprehensive and expensive statistical collection in one go. 

Namibia has had three population and housing censuses since independence. These were conducted in 1991, 2001 and 2011 clearly indicating a ten-year interval, as per best international practice. In between, inter-censal demographic surveys were held to ensure updated figures. The census, obviously, is rather most known for counting people, however, it provides much more information than just the population count. Some of the data produced include household, literacy, housing, education, language groups, sanitation, citizenship, labour, income, expenditure, age compositions, urban / rural data and much more. 

For starters, in 1991 the population of Namibia stood at around 1.4 million. Ten years later this figure rose to 1.8 million and in 2011 the population figure stood at 2.1 million people. In 2016 rough estimates as per the inter-censal demographic survey showed a rise to 2.3 million people and by 2018, as per the population projections, Namibia’s population should be around 2.4 million people. 

An interesting statistics is the change in the urban versus rural population dynamics. At independence a good 70 per cent of our population resided in rural areas. A consistent decline in this ratio has been observed to an extent that current figures shows that only 52 per cent of the population still resides in rural areas. The Khomas region is still the most populous region in Namibia, followed by the northern regions as well as Otjzozondjupa and Kavango East regions. 

The literacy rate has been rising ever since independence and more people gained educational achievements as compared to Namibia a good 29 years ago. Housing conditions, main sources of income as well as composition and sizes of households have also changed significantly. 

All in all, the Namibia Statistics Agency collects information not for its own sake, but for the sake of the country. It is clear and very evident that without information we will be that much worse off, or not as well as with information. In order for our information to be accurate, reliable, relevant and timely it is important for the nation to understand the importance of statistics and always play their part in providing statistics that are needed for development. 

It goes without saying that the collection of statistics is an expensive exercise, not only because our country is vast with a dense population, but also because of the technology used to collect information. Many years ago a lot of collections used to be done through paper, however, nowadays we are moving towards technology which can make our work easier, and of course allow us to add the spatial component to our statistics. This just means adding location to any statistical information available. It is certainly an area I would recommend everybody to get themselves familiar with. As we prepare for the 2021 Census, let me remind you that whatever statistics you might need, it should be available. All you need to do is contact us or download our mobile statistical app in order to have all statistics on your fingertips via your phone. Statistics for development. 

*Iipumbu Sakaria is the Manager for Corporate Communications at the Namibia Statistics Agency


New Era Reporter
2019-01-21 09:52:10 5 months ago

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