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Namibia, Population

The population of Namibia at the 1981 census was 1,033,196. The 2002 estimated population was 1,820,916, giving the country an overall population density of 2 persons per sq km (6 per sq mi). The only city of significant size is Windhoek (population, 1997 estimate, 169,000). Only 31 percent of the people were classified as urban residents in 2000. The population is estimated to be growing at 1.2 percent a year. Life expectancy at birth is 39 years.

Black Africans constitute about 86 percent of the population of Namibia; whites, about 6.6 percent; and people of mixed descent, about 7.4 percent. The principal nonwhite group is the Ovambo, an agricultural people who live primarily in the north and make up about one-half of the population. The Ovambo speak a Bantu language. Other nonwhite groups include the Kavango, the Herero, the Damara, the Khoikhoi, and the San. English is the official language, but Afrikaans and German are widely spoken. In addition, each African ethnic group has its own language. The white population and a majority of the black population are Christian; the remainder mostly adheres to traditional faiths.

Education is officially compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. The government has initiated programs to improve adult literacy, which stands at only 92 percent. In 1998-1999 some 386,600 students attended primary schools and 110,100 attended secondary schools.

 
 

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