Nigeria Demographics

What is the population of Nigeria?

Population 236,747,130
Population: Male/Female male: 119,514,449

female: 117,232,681
Population Growth Rate 2.52%
Population Distribution largest population of any African nation; significant population clusters are scattered throughout the country, with the highest density areas being in the south and southwest
Urban Population urban population: 54.3% of total population

rate of urbanization: 3.92% annual rate of change
Population in Major Urban Areas 15.946 million Lagos, 4.348 million Kano, 3.875 million Ibadan, 3.840 million ABUJA (capital), 3.480 million Port Harcourt, 1.905 million Benin City
Nationality Noun noun: Nigerian(s)

adjective: Nigerian
Ethnic Groups Hausa 30%, Yoruba 15.5%, Igbo (Ibo) 15.2%, Fulani 6%, Tiv 2.4%, Kanuri/Beriberi 2.4%, Ibibio 1.8%, Ijaw/Izon 1.8%, other 24.9%
Language Note English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages
Demographic profile Nigeria’s population is projected to grow from more than 186 million people in 2016 to 392 million in 2050, becoming the world’s fourth most populous country. Nigeria’s sustained high population growth rate will continue for the foreseeable future because of population momentum and its high birth rate. Abuja has not successfully implemented family planning programs to reduce and space births because of a lack of political will, government financing, and the availability and affordability of services and products, as well as a cultural preference for large families. Increased educational attainment, especially among women, and improvements in health care are needed to encourage and to better enable parents to opt for smaller families.

Nigeria needs to harness the potential of its burgeoning youth population in order to boost economic development, reduce widespread poverty, and channel large numbers of unemployed youth into productive activities and away from ongoing religious and ethnic violence. While most movement of Nigerians is internal, significant emigration regionally and to the West provides an outlet for Nigerians looking for economic opportunities, seeking asylum, and increasingly pursuing higher education. Immigration largely of West Africans continues to be insufficient to offset emigration and the loss of highly skilled workers. Nigeria also is a major source, transit, and destination country for forced labor and sex trafficking.

Nigeria Learning

What is school like in Nigeria?


Over the past 30 years, the government has made little or no effort to provide new buildings, maintain existing ones, or provide up-to-date teaching technology, like computers and audiovisuals. Dilapidated structures, poorly maintained buildings, and lack of proper teaching and learning materials are some of the many features of government and some privately owned primary schools in Nigeria. Out of Nigeria's three levels of education, primary education receives the least attention from the government, leaving primary education to be funded chiefly by private individuals or groups. Some of the features seen in such poorly managed schools include the inadequate supply of desks and chairs for students use, which leaves many pupils either standing or sitting on the floor during classes; lack of teaching, learning, and writing materials like chalk, pen, pencils, text and exercise books; the inadequate number of teaching staff; no or poorly stocked libraries; absence of health care facilities like sick-bay, etc. In a government-owned primary school, the average number of people in a classroom ranges from 60-100 students, and the teacher-to-student ratio is about 1-100. The situation is similar in rural and urban areas except for big cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. In the case of privately run schools, the reverse is the case. Private schools in Nigeria, though not all, provide qualitative education to students but at costly rates. One significant similarity between public and private primary schools is the lack of space for adequate sporting facilities. The most common sporting facility in a typical Nigerian school is a soccer field, while very few boast an outdoor basketball court or a long tennis court. Outside these sporting facilities mentioned, most others used in developed countries, like the gymnasium, are almost unavailable.

Education Culture

Many parents in Nigeria view formal education as a compulsorily part of a child’s upbringing and make it their responsibility to ensure that their kids attend school regardless of their financial status. Culture also plays a vital role in a child's education level. Previously, female children were not encouraged to attend university or even secondary school. Still, these days, girls attend school to the highest possible level, although in the North, education and culture are still at loggerheads, especially where girls are concerned. Some girls are married off at 12 years of age, while boys are made to attend Qur’anic schools. Western education is not accepted in the rural north because of the belief that it only turns children away from the Islamic way of life. In the south, however, education is highly accepted, and statistics have shown that more girls are enrolled in primary and secondary schools than boys in the southeastern part of the country.


Since the advent of Western education in Nigeria, uniforms have been worn by primary and secondary school children, forming part of the criteria for establishing a primary or secondary school. Learning in Nigerian schools encompasses not just the regular classes but also includes morals and values. Therefore, students are expected to show respect to their teachers and have high regard for them. Once a teacher arrives in class, the students are expected to stand on their feet and greet in unison. Although this does not apply to all schools, most do carry out this practice to input moral standards in their pupils. Flogging and other forms of physical punishment, like kneeling while raising the hands, are accepted modes of discipline in primary and secondary schools. The class teacher can punish any student, though with caution. Generally, regardless of whether it is public or private, classes in primary schools begin by 8 a.m. and end by 2 p.m., except on Fridays, where classes end by 1 p.m. because it is a Muslim day of worship. Break time typically starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m., although some schools may have short breaks between classes. Kids are expected to use this period to eat, play games, and relax before returning to class. It is very unusual for you to find a primary school in Nigeria, whether public or private, that offers lunch or break time meals (as it is called in Nigeria) to students. Kids come to school with their food and snacks, while kids from poor homes come with nothing at all. You may also find schools with canteens where food is sold to students, usually in public primary and secondary schools. Subjects commonly taught in primary schools include English, mathematics, integrated science, social studies, verbal reasoning, quantitative aptitude (taught in private schools only), fine art, and French language (private schools only). Kids in Nigeria often communicate in their native language at home and in school and find it difficult to speak English fluently. Except for private schools, the government of Nigeria has made little or no effort to solve this problem. Primary schools lack adequate English teaching staff and materials needed for teaching English. Even teachers who are supposed to be teaching in English are forced to teach in the native language of the students to carry the kids along, especially in the rural areas of Northern and Southern Nigeria. Year after year, the number of students who fail English and are deprived of entry into the university increases.

To School

In Nigeria, the government does not handle the transportation of schoolchildren to school. Some private schools provide school buses for their pupils, but such schools usually charge high fees for such services. Parents who cannot afford such schools are left with the option of placing their children in government-run schools where the standard of education is very low. Most children who live in rural areas usually have to journey to school on foot for long distances to and fro every day, while in urban areas, getting to school and back for most of the kids is by public transport. Such means of transportation include buses, motorcycles, and tricycles or tricars. Kids whose parents own a car are taken to school by their parents but are often left to return home after school by walking or public transport.

Nigeria Population Comparison

Nigeria Health Information

What are the health conditions in Nigeria?

Life Expectancy at Birth total population: 62.2 years

male: 60.4 years

female: 64.2 years
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 8.4
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births total: 53.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 58.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 48.2 deaths/1,000 live births
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 3.4%
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .38
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population .53
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

aerosolized dust or soil contact diseases: Lassa fever

note 1: on 4 May 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Travel Health Notice for a Yellow Fever outbreak in Nigeria; a large, ongoing outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria began in September 2017; the outbreak is now spread throughout the country with the Nigerian Ministry of Health reporting cases of the disease in multiple states (Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, and Enugu); the CDC recommends travelers going to Nigeria should receive vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel and should take steps to prevent mosquito bites while there; those never vaccinated against yellow fever should avoid travel to Nigeria during the outbreak

note 2: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Nigeria is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

note 3: on 20 September 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated a Travel Health Alert for a diphtheria outbreak in several states in Nigeria; vaccination against diphtheria is essential to protect against disease; if you are traveling to an affected area, you should be up to date with your diphtheria vaccines; before travel, discuss the need for a booster dose with your healthcare professional; diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria that make a toxin from which people get very sick; diphtheria bacteria spread from person to person through respiratory droplets like from coughing or sneezing; people can also get sick from touching open sores or ulcers of people sick with diphtheria

note 1: The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is reporting yellow fever outbreaks in multiple states (Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, and Enugu). Unless vaccinated, travelers should not visit these areas. Yellow fever is caused by a virus transmitted through bites of infected mosquitoes. Travelers to Nigeria should take steps to prevent yellow fever by getting vaccinated at least 10 days before travel and taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.

note 3: There is an outbreak of diphtheria in several states in Nigeria. Vaccination against diphtheria is essential to protect against disease. If you are traveling to an affected area, you should be up to date with your diphtheria vaccines.
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved improved: urban: 95.3% of population

rural: 68.8% of population

total: 82.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.7% of population

rural: 31.2% of population

total: 17.4% of population
Tobacco Use total: 3.7%

male: 6.9%

female: 0.5%
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 1,047
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth (age 25-49) 20.4
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 12-49 16.6%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 4.52
Gross reproduction rate 2
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 8.9%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved improved: urban: 81.6% of population

rural: 41.4% of population

total: 62.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 18.4% of population

rural: 58.6% of population

total: 37.7% of population
Underweight - percent of children under five years 18.4%
Alcohol consumption per capita total: 4.49 liters of pure alcohol

beer: 0.73 liters of pure alcohol

wine: 0.09 liters of pure alcohol

spirits: 0.4 liters of pure alcohol

other alcohols: 3.27 liters of pure alcohol
Child Marriage women married by age 15: 12.3%

women married by age 18: 30.3%

men married by age 18: 1.6%

note: due to prolonged insecurity concerns, some parts of states, including Borno state, were not sampled
Currently married women (ages 15-49) 66.2%

Nigeria Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Nigeria?

Life Expectancy at Birth total population: 62.2 years

male: 60.4 years

female: 64.2 years
Median Age total: 19.3 years

male: 19.1 years

female: 19.6 years
Gross reproduction rate 2
Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 12-49 16.6%
Infant Mortality Rate total: 53.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 58.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 48.2 deaths/1,000 live births
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 1,047
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 4.52

Nigeria median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 34
Median Age total: 19.3 years

male: 19.1 years

female: 19.6 years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -0.2
Population Growth Rate 2.52%
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female
Age Structure 0-14 years: 40.4% (male 48,856,606/female 46,770,810)

15-64 years: 56.2% (male 66,897,900/female 66,187,584)

65 years and over: 3.4% (male 3,759,943/female 4,274,287)
Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 12-49 16.6%
Gross reproduction rate 2
Infant Mortality Rate total: 53.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 58.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 48.2 deaths/1,000 live births
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 1,047
Mother's mean age at first birth 20.4
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 4.52

Nigeria Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Nigeria?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Nigeria has a number of well-trained doctors, yet medical facilities in Nigeria are in poor condition, with inadequately trained nursing staff. Diagnostic and treatment equipment is often poorly maintained, and many medicines are unavailable. Caution should be taken when purchasing medicines locally as counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a common problem and may be difficult to distinguish from genuine medications. This is particularly true of generic medicines purchased at local pharmacies or in street markets. Hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the type that predominates in Nigeria, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. Because travelers to Nigeria are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers take one of the following anti-malarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam™), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™). If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area, and up to one year after returning home, you should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician your travel history and what anti-malarials you have been taking. T

Health Expenditures - percent of GDP


Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population


Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population


Nigeria Education

What is school like in Nigeria?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 0.5%
Literacy - female 52.7%
Literacy - male 71.3%
Literacy - total population 62%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write

Nigeria Literacy

Can people in Nigeria read?

Literacy - female 52.7%
Literacy - male 71.3%
Literacy - total population 62%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write

Nigeria Crime

Is Nigeria a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Violent crimes committed by individual criminals and gangs, as well as by some persons wearing police and military uniforms, occur throughout the country, especially at night. Visitors and residents have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglaries, car-jackings, rapes, kidnappings, and extortions, often involving violence. Home invasions remain a serious threat, with armed robbers accessing even guarded compounds by scaling perimeter walls; following or tailgating residents or visitors arriving by car into a compound; or subduing guards to gain entry into homes or apartments. Armed robbers in Lagos also access waterfront compounds by boat. U.S. citizens, as well as Nigerians and other expatriates, have become victims of armed robbery at banks, grocery stores, and on airport roads during both daylight and evening hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly or not at all, and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens, other expatriates, and Nigerians have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian law enforcement officials. Traveling outside of major cities after dark is not recommended due to crime and road safety concerns. Maritime crime including piracy, continues off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea, with armed gangs boarding commercial and private vessels to rob travelers and occasionally take hostages for ransom. The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea.

Nigerian-operated fraud schemes, known locally as "419" scams, are noted for their cleverness and ingenuity. These scams target foreigners worldwide, posing risks of financial loss and personal danger to their victims. Scams are often initiated through internet postings or from internet cafes by unsolicited emails, faxes, and letters, or can involve credit card use. As anywhere else, no one should provide personal or financial information to unknown parties or via Nigerian telephone lines. The expansion of bilateral law enforcement cooperation has resulted in numerous raids on commercial fraud premises and the limited return of some assets to fraud victims. New types of even more sophisticated scams seem to appear almost daily.

U.S. citizens frequently become victims of Nigerian confidence artists offering companionship through internet dating web sites and social networks. These confidence artists almost always pose as U.S. citizens visiting or living in Nigeria who unexpectedly experience a medical, legal, financial, or other type of “emergency” requiring immediate financial assistance. We strongly urge you to be very cautious about sending money to any unknown person or traveling to Nigeria to meet someone with whom your sole communications have occurred via the internet and telephone. Other common scams involve a promise of an inheritance windfall, work contracts in Nigeria, or an overpayment for goods purchased on-line. For additional information on these types of scams, see the Department of State's publication, International Financial Scams.

Commercial scams that target foreigners, including many U.S. citizens, are common. You should remain alert regarding scams that may involve you in illegal activity that could result in arrest, extortion, or bodily harm. These scams generally involve phony offers of money transfers, lucrative sales, contracts with promises of large commissions or up-front payments. They may improperly invoke the authority of one or more ministries or offices of the Nigerian government and may cite, by name, the involvement of a Nigerian government or a U.S. embassy official. In some scams, criminals use government stationery and seals to advance the scam. The ability of U.S. consular officers to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful business deals or scams and their subsequent consequences is extremely limited. U.S. citizens have been arrested by police officials and held for varying periods on charges of involvement in illegal business activity or scams. Nigerian police and other law enforcement officials do not always inform the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General immediately of the arrest or detention of U.S. citizens.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has published advisories for the U.S. business community on a variety of issues that should be seriously reviewed with respect to doing business in Nigeria. To check on a business’ legitimacy within the United States, contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at the International Trade Administration, Room 3317, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. 20230, telephone: 1-800-USA-TRADE or (202) 482-5149, fax: (202) 482-5198. If you are abroad, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Nigeria Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Nigeria, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Nigeria, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.

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