Demographics of Nigeria - statistics & facts

Nigeria is the country with the highest population in Africa. In 2019, its population amounted to over 200 million people and was estimated to constantly increase in the next decades. By 2050, this figure could double and reach 400 million people. In fact, in the last 50 years, Nigeria's population grew at a very high rate. The largest city of Nigeria is Lagos, which is also the largest city in all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Abuja, the Capital City of Nigeria, counted about half a million inhabitants in 2020, ranking 15th among the largest cities of Nigeria.

One main feature which characterizes Nigeria's demographics is the young age of the population. In 2018, the median age of the population equaled 18.4 years, meaning that half of the population was aged under 19 years. Nigeria represents the 18th country with the lowest median age in Africa as well as in the world. Indeed, the 21 countries with the youngest median age on the African continent are also the countries with the youngest median age worldwide. A young population reflects several demographic characteristics of a country. For instance, together with a high population growth, life expectancy in Nigeria is among the lowest globally. The average life span in Nigeria for those born in 2019 was 54 years. Consequently, people aged 60 years and over make up a very small part of the Nigerian population.

The rapid population growth observed in Nigeria went hand in hand with a high birth rate. The crude birth rate is among the highest in Africa, reaching 35 births per 1,000 people. Nevertheless, the birth rate was projected to decline in the next decades. Although the birth rate might decline, the number of women keeps growing. In other words, despite the decreasing birth rate, more women are having children. However, many mothers in Nigeria die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. According to the latest data available, in low-income countries the maternal mortality rate in 2017 was 462 deaths per 100,000 live births, whereas in high-income countries this figure was 11. In Nigeria, per 100,000 children, 917 mothers died from causes related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management.

In 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the country with the largest population living in extreme poverty. These data are very alarming, as India has a population almost seven times higher than Nigeria. An individual is considered poor in Nigeria when less than 361 U.S. dollars per year are available to him or her. In total, 40.1 percent of the population in Nigeria lived in poverty, which equals almost 83 million people. The majority of individuals living in poverty are concentrated in rural areas and live in large households. Moreover, further data on the poverty rate indicate that households with a male at the head are much more impacted by poverty than those with a female lead. Additionally, more people working exclusively in the agricultural sector live in poverty. The states of Sokoto and Taraba had the largest percentage of people living below the poverty line. The lowest poverty rates were recorded in the South and South-Western states. For instance, in Lagos this figure equaled 4.5 percent, the lowest rate in Nigeria.

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Demographics of Nigeria

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Median age and life expectancy

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