Income poverty and inequality in Namibia

Type Working Paper
Title Income poverty and inequality in Namibia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
In this paper a national income poverty line for Namibia is derived based on estimated
expenditures required to sustain a minimum calorific intake (food poverty line) as well
as other basic necessities such as clothing and shelter (non-food poverty line). Estimates are
based on actual consumption patterns of the poorest as recorded by the Namibia Household
Income and Expenditure Survey conducted in 1993/94. This method is preferred over the previously
applied food-share method. The overall poverty line is estimated at N$107 per capita per
month in 1993/94 prices or approximately N$212 per capita per month in 2003 prices. According
to this definition 53% of households and 65% of individuals in Namibia live below the income
poverty line at the time of the survey. The analysis confirms tremendous inequalities in
the way income and poverty is distributed. The poorest 20% of the population receives 2.5% of
total expenditure, while the top 20% receives 71%. The standard measure of inequality, the
Gini-coefficient, is estimated to be 0.697, which is probably the highest in the world. The methods
and analysis presented in the paper should serve as a bench-mark for the analysis of the
ongoing 2003/04 income and expenditure survey in particular and as a key tool for designing,
implementing and monitoring policies that can effectively combat income poverty and inequality
in Namibia in line with Vision 2030 and the Millennium Development Goals.

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