Namibia has an estimated population of about 1,890,000 people. They live on a surface area of about 823,700 km2, giving an average density of just over 2 people per km2. However, people are spread very unevenly across the country. Large areas are completely uninhabited and many other areas are very sparsely populated. On the other hand, there are some very dense populations in towns and a few small rural areas. These concentrations are due to three factors, the first of which is the availability of suitable natural resources. Most rural people, therefore, live in areas where water is available, crops can be grown because rainfall and soil fertility is relatively high, and where there are sufficient pastures for livestock.

These are the conditions that have made the Cuvelai drainage system, the Okavango River valley and the floodplains in eastern Caprivi so densely populated. Another factor is the availability of employment and business opportunities, which attract people to urban areas at such a rapid rate, as described below.

Thiredly the presence of infrastructure, such as roads, water and other services, affects the distribution of people. These obviously add to the quality of life in towns but also affect the distribution of rural communities. Certain areas along main roads in Caprivi and Kavango are more populated for this reason.