By Hilary Mare
THE overall poverty levels have reduced significantly with 10.7 percent points (from 28.7 to 18.0) while the inequality in income distribution remains high with a slight reduction of 2.5 percent points from the previous survey of 2009/2010 to the survey of 2015/2016.
This was said by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) late last week when it released the poverty report adding that most poverty indicators suggest that poverty has further decreased during the last five years.
“In total 132 282 persons cannot afford to buy the minimum (2 100 kcal) calories per day. From the table 4 below 11.0 percent of the population (250 879) are still below the lower bound poverty line while 18.0 percent of the population (410 529) are below the upper bound poverty line,” says NSA.
Namibia’s population in 2015 was estimated to be 2 280 716 people living in 517 648 households, with an average size of 4.4 person per household. The majority of the household population (53 percent) live in rural areas, while 47 percent in urban areas.
Although the difference is not much, the same trend was observed in 2009/10 with 62 percent in rural and 38 percent in urban areas. The most populated region is Khomas where 17 percent of the population lives, followed by Ohangwena and Omusati regions with a share of 11 percent each. Omaheke is the least populated region with three percent of the population living there.
On the other hand the Agency announced the official conclusion of the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES) 2015/2016 which is the fourth of this type of surveys to be conducted in independent Namibia. It is also the first NHIES to be carried out by the NSA as indicated in its strategic priorities and objectives as stipulated in the Business Plan for 2012/2013 to 2016/2017.
The NHIES 2015/2016 is a household based survey designed to collect data on incomes and expenditure patterns of households, therefore persons in institutions were not covered in this survey. As the sole source of information on incomes and expenditure in the country the survey is used to compute poverty indicators at household and individual levels. It also serves as a statistical framework for compiling the national basket items for the compilation of price indices used in the calculation of inflation. It forms the basis for updating prices or rebasing of national accounts.
“The main objective of the NHIES 2015/2016 is to provide social economic indicators to support planning, policy formulation, decision making and research and development for a knowledge based economy in order to eradicate poverty and income inequalities in Namibia. It will describe the living conditions of Namibians using actual patterns of consumption and income as well as a range of other social and economic indicators,” the Agency states.
This survey consists of the following core modules; labour force, health, education, income, expenditure and housing. The survey was conducted over a period of one year survey life-cycle that is aimed at correcting seasonal indicators which are needed for planning purposes. The survey will provide data on a quarterly basis at national level on selected indicators while the regional based indicators will be provided at the end of the survey.
The NHIES 2015/16 is fully financed within the Namibian Government development budget. The technical support in the area of data processing during the development of data entry and listing applications was provided by experts from the United States Census Bureau who were financially supported by USAID. In addition, the experts from the World Bank (WB) provided technical expertise during data analysis.
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