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Nigeria Population at 182 Million, more than 50 percent are poor

Younger population increases demands on schools, clinics

2016 remains a unique period for Nigeria in a special way.  The country’s population reached 182 million this year with more than half its people not only being poor but are under 30 years of age.

The population expansion puts a severe strain on the nation that is suffering from a slowing economy and declining revenue to provide enough schools and health facilities.

Per sources, the latest population estimate is based on the population of 140 million recorded in the last census a decade ago, using an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent weighed against other variables such as rising life expectancy and a declining infant mortality rate,’ Ghazi Bello, director general of the National Population Commission, said in an interview Monday in the capital, Abuja

Nigeria which is Africa’s most populous country, is observing a growing youth protuberance, with those under 14 years accounting for more than 40 percent of its citizens, he said. This is happening at a time when the International Monetary Fund has forecast the West African nation’s gross domestic product will shrink 1.7 percent this year, the first full-year contraction in more than two decades.

Nigeria, officially known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country that is located on the western coast of Africa. The country features 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, which is known as Abuja. The country of Nigeria features over five hundred different ethnic groups, many different languages, and declared its independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960. As of 2016, the estimated population of the country is over 178.5 million.

Last collected in 2012 by the Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics, the total population of citizens in Nigeria was around 166.2 million people. In 2016, it is estimated to have over 178.5 million people although United Nations projections have placed the population as high as 186 million. Back in 1960, when the country declared its independence from the United Kingdom, the country recorded an estimated 45.2 million people. That constitutes a change of about 268% between the year 1960 and the year 2012. The entire population of Nigeria accounts for about 2.35% of the entire earth’s population. This means that about 1 out of every 43 people in the world call Nigeria their home.

It should be noted that these estimates by the Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics consider the residual effects of the very high mortality rate due to the rampant AIDS epidemic in the country. The AIDS epidemic, while a lot more controlled in the United States, is still a very big killer on the entire continent of Africa. Many people and multiple leaders have taken steps to help African nations such as Nigeria fight the AIDS epidemic. Fortunately, the numbers have improved significantly over the last 15 to 20 years.

Nigeria Population History

The Nigerian government has been doing its best to help curb a rapid growth in population. They have offered free contraception over the past 10 years or so and they have even started taking steps to discourage people who are looking to have large families. The government is relying on smaller families to secure financial salvation in the future. They are looking toward territories like Thailand – another area with large population growth issues – as a model for their current strategy.

Nigeria, since 1960, has grown to be the 7th most populated country in the world. That is saying a lot given the smaller size of the country itself. The government is really relying on population control to save their country because it is quite difficult to survive as a small country without oil or highly valuable exports.

The life expectancy in Nigeria is, unfortunately, the lowest in all West Africa. The average life expectancy is around 54.5 years of age per WHO data, with men living an average of 53.7 years and women living an average of 55.4 years. This very low number can be attributed to the fact that the country has a lot of health issues.

As previously mentioned, the AIDS epidemic is a major player in the low life expectancy. But on top of that, Nigeria has also fallen victim to a high child and material mortality rate and the widespread growth of the polio virus. In fact, one out of every five children that are born in Nigeria will die before they reach the age of five due to the many health risks in Nigeria.

While pregnancy is obviously not a disease by any means, a lot of expectant mothers in Nigeria die from pregnancy complications every year. A Nigerian woman’s chances of death during pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 13. In addition to that, many people in Nigeria do not seek professional medical attention as they feel that “healers” will help them live longer. They are not aware that professional doctors will give them a much longer life.

When it comes to the average of a Nigerian citizen, the country is relatively young. For both males and females, the median age of the country is 17.9 years of age.  The split between the males and the females in Nigeria are quite even. Men take the edge in numbers, but not by much. There are, per estimates, about 1.04 males to every 1 female in the country. It should be noted, though, that while men slightly outnumber women, after the age of 65, women outnumber the number of men.

There are multiple ethnic groups in the country of Nigeria. The Hausa-Fulani ethnicity outnumbers every other ethnic group, accounting for two-thirds of the population. Out of those two-thirds, a very large majority of them are of the Muslim faith. The other ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Nupe, the Tiv, and the Kanuri.

The official language of Nigeria is English, but the country does feature multiple languages. The most common non-English languages include the language of Hausa, the language of Yoruba, and the language of Igbo. Those three languages are the most widespread, apart from the language of English.

The overall religious aspect of Nigeria is generally split between Christianity and Islam. Most Nigerian Muslims are Sunni and are in the northern parts of the country while the Christian population is located mainly in the middle and the southern areas of the country. A study in 2010 stated that 45.5 percent of the population was Muslim while the rest were Christians.

Lagos 9,000,000
Kano 3,626,068
Ibadan 3,565,108
Kaduna 1,582,102
Port Harcourt 1,148,665
Benin City 1,125,058
Maiduguri 1,112,449
Zaria 975,153
Aba 897,560
Jos 816,824
Ilorin 814,192
Oyo 736,072
Enugu 688,862
Abeokuta 593,100
Abuja 590,400
Sokoto 563,861


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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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