NHIES survey report shows decline in poverty measure

15 Mar 2018 16:00pm
ONGWEDIVA, 15 MAR (NAMPA) – Poverty levels have decreased between 2009 and 2016, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) Household Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES) has revealed.
NSA Statistician-General (SG), Alex Shimuafeni launched the final NHIES 2015/16 report in Ongwediva on Wednesday, after it only released preliminary results of the survey in November 2016 in order to allow for economist, planners and analysts to have preliminary figures to work with in their daily work.
He said poverty declined from 7,2 per cent in 2009/10 to 6,1 per cent in 2015/16 for people who are food poor, meaning they cannot afford to buy the minimum food of N.dollars 293.10 per month.
“Meanwhile, the lower poverty line, which are the severely poor – people who cannot afford food and basic expenditures to a total value of N.dollars 389.30 per month - declined from 15,4 per cent during the last survey to 10,7 per cent in the recent survey report,” he said.
The upper poverty line, which consists of poor people who cannot afford food and basic expenditures to a total value of N.dollars 520.80 per month, decreased from 28,8 per cent to 17,4 per cent since 2009 to 2016.
The SG added that the Gini coefficient (which measures income inequality) has also come down from 58 per cent in 2009/10 to 56 per cent in 2015/16.
“The National Development Plan 5 targets to at least have the income inequality gap to 50 per cent by 2022, because the smaller the gap, the better,” he added.
Shimuafeni, however, expressed concern that although the number of severely poor households declined, those who are poor keep getting poorer, relating this situation to a number of causes, including the high employment rate in some regions.
The survey was conducted between April 2015 and March 2016 to cover seasonal expenditure variations in different characteristics throughout the year.
An estimated 544 655 private households were counted during the survey, with an estimated population of 2 280 716.
The majority of the population (53,1 per cent) live in rural areas, while 46,9 percent live in urban areas, Shimuafeni explained.
He added that 10 090 out of 10 368 sampled households were successfully interviewed, resulting in a 97,3 per cent response rate which exceeded the NSA’s acceptable standard for response rate for social statistics of 80 per cent.
The NHIES is the fourth of its kind to be conducted in Namibia, however it is the first for the NSA since its establishment in April 2012. The first one was in 1993/1994 then followed by 2003/2004, 2009/2010 and 2015/2016.