The Population of Nigeria: The Facts you need to know

As of February 13th 2019, latest United Nations reports show that Nigeria’s population is at 200,433,215 people, that there are 217 of these people per square kilometer, there are 103 men for every 100 women, and the median age is 17.9 years. With these numbers, Nigeria is well placed as the most populous black nation in the world. Lets talk about population a bit.


The United Nations have estimated that, although the world is over 8 billion people dense, the 12th billion human would never be born. This tells us something about population, just like human beings, it ages and attains some sort of asymptotic number; although that value could also be explosive. It happened in the industrial evolution when birth rate grew faster than death rate.


Nigeria is located on the western coast of Africa, and is bordered by Benin, Cameroun, Chad, and Niger. The country has more than 500 ethnic groups, many languages, all within its 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Nigeria gained independence on the 1st of October 1960.


At independence, Nigeria’s population was somewhere around 45.2 million, and by 2012, it has grown by about 268% to 166.2 million; in fact by 2016, the United Nations estimated Nigeria’s population to be 186 million. Nigeria makes up about two and half percent of the world’s population, and this means you are 98% likely to meet 1 Nigerian for every 50 people you come across on the planet. The county has become the 7th most populous nation in the world.


Note that the UN projections are made bearing in mind the endemic effects of HIV/AIDS on the population and its impact on mortality. It is true, however, that the disease has been significantly contained and suppressed. There are less than 3 million people living with AIDS at the moment.


Lets Look at The Area and Population Density of Nigeria


923,768 sq km is Nigeria’s surface area. And so with 200 million people inhabiting this area, that places Nigeria’s population density at about 211 people in every square kilometer. It turns out most of this density is contributed by the southwestern parts of the country.


The Growth of Nigeria’s Population

Population explosion is one of the world’s biggest concerns. There are questions on how an ever-growing population would be fed, how disease would be managed, how conflicts would be resolved, and how the economy would be kept in a sustaining equilibrium.


Nigeria has not been excluded from this rapid population growth, but the government has been making efforts to contain it. There has been campaigns where contraceptives get distributed and groups rallying for birth-control adoption. With all these, however, the population is estimated to grow to 380 million in 31 years.


How Long Do Nigerians Live?


Recent estimates show that in all West Africa, Nigeria has the lowest life expectancy. 54.5 years is the average life expectancy of Nigerians according to WHO data with men and women respectively living for about 53.7 and 55.4 years. These numbers are not impressive, that is granted; and it is mostly as a result of the poor healthcare obtainable. With increase child mortality and prevalence of different diseases, Nigerians die before they reach elevated ages. We also have complications during childbirth, and in fact 12 in 156 women die during childbirth. And this is due to a number of reasons; from illiteracy and poor antenatal care to poor medical facilities.


How this Population Live their Lives


About 28% of Nigerians do not have access to clean drinking water and only 30% occupy to very sanitized environments. National literacy rate is put at almost 60% and the average Nigerian has spent about 9 years in school.


It would be an insulting lie to claim that the quality of life in Nigeria is at its best but there is something about the Nigerian people that make this claim a possible reality, the optimism and hope of the average Nigerian is almost unparalleled on the planet.


Lets Look at Demographics


From the statistic in the first paragraph, the median age of the Nigerian population is really low; Nigeria has a very young population. There are also even distribution between both male and female genders, however, for the population of those over 65 years, women outnumber the men.


The Hausa-Fulani ethnic group makes up about 60% of the population, outnumbering all the other ethnic groups. A significant number of the Hausas and Fulanis are muslims. Other ethnic groups include the Yorubas, Ibos, Kanuri, Tiv, Nupe, among others.


The lingua franca in Nigeria is the English Language, our souvenir from our colonial masters. There are also common languages that people speak in the country and they include: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and many others, these are the most popular.


The religious landscape of Nigeria is largely divided between Christian and Islamic lines, almost equally. There are other religions however, like the African Traditional religion, Ogboni Confraternity, and even Atheism (not really a religion though). The religious predominance is also divided across geographical lines. We have Christianity mostly in the southern parts of the country, and Islam in the North.


A Little Math of Nigerian Population


Statistics has it that:


  • There is one birth every 4 seconds
  • There is one death every 14 seconds
  • One net migrant every 9 minutes


And so that means in 9 minutes, 135 births and about 40 deaths are recorded, making about 95 new additions to our population. By doing some divisions, we find that every 6 seconds, 1 person is added to our population, on the average.


Most Populated States and Cities in Nigeria in 2019


We would consider the most populated cities in a tabular form below:


Nigerian State Population
Lagos State 21 million
Kano State 16 million
Oyo State 15 million
Kaduna State 12 million
Rivers State 11 million
Katsina State 10 million
Anambra State 8.3 million
Jigawa State 8 million
Benue State 7.8 million


Nigerian Cities Population
Lagos 9 million
Kano 3.6 million
Ibadan 3.5 million
Kaduna 1.6 million
Port Harcourt 1.1 million
Benin City 1.1 million
Maiduguri 1.1 million
Zaria 0.97 million
Aba 0.89 million





Data Sources

  1. National Bureau of Statistics
  2. World Population Prospects (2017 Revision) – United Nations population estimates and projections.
  3. GeoNames Gazetteer


You May Also Like


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: