Nigeria’s Population Projected To Reach 730 Million
Nigeria’s population is projected to swell to around 730 million by 2100, potentially elevating it to the world’s third-most populous country.
With just over 227 million people, the African country is experiencing a population boom, with United Nations estimates suggesting that current numbers will almost double by 2050 to 401 million. And if the current trend continues, Nigeria’s population will exceed 728 million by the end of this century.
Sani Umaru is a resident of the large slum of Makoko near Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city. He has three wives and 18 children. Umaru told Deutsche Welle (DW): “Having a large family is a blessing from God. I am a product of a large family. I like a large family. As a youth, I decided that, when I was older, I would have a large family.”
Acute poverty, food security, unemployment, housing shortages, and inadequate health services are all seen as significant challenges for a country with an average fertility rate of 5 births per mother. But there are greater concerns.
According to UNICEF, more than 65 million people in Nigeria are between the ages of 10 and 24.
“These young people will soon grow up and enter into what we call the reproductive age,” John Oyefara, a professor of demography at the University of Lagos, also told DW. This, he said, will cause Nigeria’s population growth to accelerate even more.
“The resources available are unable to meet the basic needs of the growing population,” said Oyefara. “This has resulted in inadequate facilities in our health sector, food security, housing, transportation and even employment.”
Michael Ayamga is the director of the West Africa Centre for Sustainable Rural Transformation. He believes that Nigeria needs to take urgent preventive measures. “We need to start intensifying some birth control education,” he said. “We need to manage and be able to control the rate at which it grows.”
According to the World Bank, unemployment in Nigeria grew from 6.4% in 2010 to 33.3% at the end of 2020. Estimates project an employment rate of more than 40% in 2024.
John Oyefara believes that this level of unemployment is a crisis in itself, one that leads to insurgency, poverty and insecurity. Referring to Nigeria’s young population, he claimed: “They now turn out to be available hands to be recruited by terrorists and bandits.”