After the liberation from South Africa in 1990, an equality policy was introduced, but Namibia is still one of the world’s most unequal countries in terms of income distribution. Particularly large is the difference between those living in the capital Windhoek and the population of Ovamboland in the north. Poverty has fallen sharply in recent years. In 2010, 24 percent of the population lived below US $ 1.25 a day. At the same time, the richest tenth of the population controlled more than half of the country’s total income.
About 1/3 of the population is in need of food assistance. However, most (90 percent) have access to clean water. In the United Nations Development Index (HDI) 2014, Namibia is ranked 126 out of 188 countries and is thus estimated to have achieved medium-high development.
Namibia has been hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, just like most other countries in southern Africa; 13 percent of the population aged 15–49 are estimated to be infected (2009). Nevertheless, the average life expectancy is clearly higher than in other countries in the region. Several other social indicators also show that the country is better than the averages that apply to developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Qualified help is available in just over 80 percent of births. Maternal mortality is estimated at 130 per 100,000 births and the number of births per woman is 3.1 (2012). Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of NAM and acronym for Namibia.
In addition to education, health care is the largest item in public spending: 12 percent (2009). There are 27 hospital beds (2009) and four doctors (2007) per 10,000 residents, which is high figures for the region.