The Causes of Changes in Fertility in Northern Namibia

Ovamboland,1927–2010, and Kavango Region,1935–1979


  • Veijo Notkola University of Eastern Finland
  • Harri Siiskonen University of Eastern Finland
  • Riikka Shemeikka University of Helsinki


Fertility, mortality, historical demography, Africa


The main aim of this study was to analyse fertility change in Ovamboland (North-Central Namibia) (1927–2010) and the Kavango region (North-East Namibia) (1935–1979) in Northern Namibia. According to the results, the fertility change was quite similar in both areas: fertility declined during the 1950s compared to the preceding period, 1935–1949. We can assume that the main reason for this early fertility decline was changes in the number of migrant workers (out-migration), which caused changes in both the marriage age and birth intervals. In both Ovamboland and in the Kavango region, fertility increased from the late 1950s into the early 1960s and the fertility transition started at the end of the 1970s. In both areas, the increase in fertility during the
late 1950s and early 1960s was probably due to the improved health situation. Fertility transition started at the end of the 1970s, but mortality had already started to decline before that. The main causes of this declining fertility at the end of the 1970s and during the 1980s were improved access to modern methods of contraception and probably also the increased level of education. As a result of the HIV epidemic, mortality increased in Ovamboland at the end of the 1990s and early 2000s. The declining fertility in the same period was probably linked to this increased mortality due to AIDS, while the increased fertility after 2008 is, in turn, probably linked to management of the HIV epidemic.

Apr 27, 2017

How to Cite

Notkola, V., Siiskonen, H., & Shemeikka, R. (2017). The Causes of Changes in Fertility in Northern Namibia: Ovamboland,1927–2010, and Kavango Region,1935–1979. Finnish Yearbook of Population Research, 51, 23–40.