Nigeria’s population grew by 57 million between 1990 and 2008, representing a 60% rise in less than two decades. Almost half of all Nigerians are 14 or younger. Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa, accounting for about 18% of the continent’s overall population; however, precise population figures are unknown.
According to the United Nations, the population was 154,729,000 in 2009, with 51.7 percent rural and 48.3 percent urban areas, with a population density of 167.5 persons per square kilometer. National census findings have been contested in recent decades. The most recent census, conducted in December 2006, yielded a population of 140,003,542. The sole gender split was available: men numbered 71,709,859, while females numbered 68,293,08. President Goodluck Jonathan said in June 2012 that Nigerians should restrict the number of children they have.
According to the United Nations, Nigeria has seen rapid population growth and has one of the world’s highest growth and fertility rates. According to their estimates, Nigeria is one of eight nations that will contribute for half of the world’s total population growth between 2005 and 2050. The UN predicts that by 2100, Nigeria’s population would range between 505 million to 1.03 billion people (middle estimate: 730 million). Nigeria had just 33 million inhabitants in 1950.
Nigerians account for one in every four Africans. Nigeria is now the world’s seventh most populated nation. According to 2006 estimates, 42.3 percent of the population is between the ages of 0 and 14, while 54.6 percent is between the ages of 15 and 65; the birth rate is considerably greater than the mortality rate, at 40.4 and 16.9 per 1000 people, respectively.
Lagos is Nigeria’s biggest city. Lagos has expanded from a population of about 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 15 million now.
Nigeria has about 500 ethnic groups, each with its own language and traditions, resulting in a nation with a rich ethnic variety. The Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Fulani ethnic groups account for more than 70 percent of the population, while the Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Gwari, Itsekiri, Jukun, Urhobo, Igala, Idoma, and Tiv ethnic groups account for 25 to 30 percent; other minorities account for the remaining 5 percent.
Nigeria’s middle belt is renowned for its ethnic variety, which includes the Pyem, Goemai, and Kofyar. The official population count of each of Nigeria’s ethnicities has always been contentious and contested, since members of various ethnic groups think the census is manipulated to give a specific group numerical dominance (typically thought to be northern tribes).
Nigeria has a tiny minority of British, American, East Indian, Chinese (about 50,000), white Zimbabwean, Japanese, Greek, Syrian, and Lebanese immigrants. Immigrants from other West and East African countries are also welcome. These minority are mainly concentrated in big cities like Lagos and Abuja, or in the Niger Delta as workers of major oil corporations. Following the Cuban Revolution, a number of Cubans fled to Nigeria as political exiles.
Ex-slaves of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian ancestry, as well as immigrants from Sierra Leone, formed colonies in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria in the mid-nineteenth century. Following the abolition of slavery in the Americas, a large number of ex-slaves immigrated to Nigeria. Many of the immigrants, known as Saros (Sierra Leoneans) and Amaro (ex-slaves from Brazil), went on to become important merchants and missionaries in these towns.
Nigeria is a spiritually diverse country, with Islam and Christianity being the most commonly practiced faiths. Nigerians are almost evenly split between Christians and Muslims, with a small minority practicing Animism and other faiths. According to one recent estimate, Islam is practiced by more than 40% of Nigeria’s population (mainly Sunni, other branches are also present). 58 percent of the population adheres to Christianity (among them 74 percent are Protestant, 25 percent Roman Catholic, 1 percent other Christian). Animists and other religious adherents make about 1.4 percent of the population.
Islam dominated the north and had a sizable following in the country’s southwestern, Yoruba region. Nigeria has Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest Muslim population. In Yoruba regions, Protestantism and indigenous syncretic Christianity are also present, while Roman Catholicism is more prevalent in south eastern Nigeria. Protestantism and Roman Catholicism were both dominant in the Ibibio, Annang, and Efik kiosa regions.
According to the 1963 census, 47 percent of Nigerians were Muslims, 35 percent were Christians, and 18 percent belonged to local indigenous groups. If this is correct, it shows a significant rise in the number of Christians (up 23%) since 1953, a decrease in individuals claiming indigenous beliefs (down 20%), and just a small (6%) dip in Muslims, which may most likely be ascribed to immigration, emigration, and birthrate.
The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Nigeria are Sunni, following the Maliki school of thought; however, a sizable minority follows the Shafi madhhab. Sufibrotherhoods have a high number of Sunni Muslim adherents. The majority of Sufis adhere to the Qadiriyya, Tijaniyyah, and/or Mouride groups. There is a sizable Shia minority (see Shia in Nigeria). Considerable northern states have integrated Sharia law into their formerly secular legal systems, causing some consternation. Kano State has attempted to include Sharia law in its constitution. The Kalo Kato or Quraniyyun movement is followed by the vast majority of Quranists. There are also Ahmadiyya and Mahdiyya communities in the country.
According to a CIA World Factbook study from 2001, about 50% of Nigeria’s population is Muslim, 40% is Christian, and 10% practices indigenous faiths. However, according to a recent study, the Christian population has surpassed the Muslim population. According to a Pew Research Center study on religion and public life published on December 18, 2012, in 2010, 49.3 percent of Nigeria’s population was Christian, 48.8 percent was Muslim, and 1.9 percent were adherents of indigenous and other faiths or unaffiliated. Furthermore, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives’ 2010 census, 46.5 percent of the overall population is Christian, slightly more than the Muslim population of 45.5 percent, and 7.7 percent are members of other religious organizations.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives’ 2010 census, 46.5 percent of the overall population was Christian, slightly higher than the Muslim population of 45.5 percent, while 7.7 percent were adherents of other faiths. These figures, however, should be interpreted with care since sample data is mostly gathered from large metropolitan centers in the south that are mainly Christian.
According to the Pew Research study, 74% of Christians are Protestant, 25% are Catholic, and 1% belong to other Christian faiths, including a tiny Orthodox Christian population. The Hausa ethnic group (predominant in the north) was found to be 95 percent Muslim and 5 percent Christian, the Yoruba tribe (predominant in the west) was 55 percent Muslim, 35 percent Christian, and 10 percent adherents of other religions, and the Igbos (predominant in the east) and Ijaw (south) were 98 percent Christian, with 2 percent practicing other religions. The middle belt of Nigeria is home to the most minority ethnic groups in Nigeria, the most of whom are Christians and adherents of traditional faiths, with a tiny percentage of Muslims.
The Church of Nigeria of the Anglican Communion, the Assemblies of God Church, the Nigerian Baptist Convention, and The Synagogue, Church of All Nations are among the country’s leading Protestant denominations. Many other faiths, especially evangelical Protestant denominations, have grown significantly during the 1990s. Redeemed Christian Church of God, Winners’ Chapel, Christ Apostolic Church (the first Aladura Movement in Nigeria), Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Evangelical Church of West Africa, Mountain of Fire and Miracles, Christ Embassy, and The Synagogue Church Of All Nations are among them. Furthermore, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Aladura Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and other indigenous churches have grown.
The Yoruba region has a sizable Anglican population, while Igboland is mainly Roman Catholic, and the Edo region is dominated by adherents of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, which were brought into Nigeria by Augustus Ehurie Wogu and his colleagues at Old Umuahia.
Furthermore, Nigeria has become an African center for the Grail Movement and the Hare Krishnas, with the biggest Eckankar temple, with a total capacity of 10,000, located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Nigeria is the 32nd-largest nation in the world, with a total size of 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi) on the Gulf of Guinea (after Tanzania). It is about the size of Venezuela and roughly twice the size of California in the United States. It has a 4,047-kilometer (2,515-mile) border with Benin ((773 km or 480 km), Niger (1,497 km or 930 mi), Chad (87 km or 54 mi), and Cameroon (1,690 km or 1,050 mi), and has at least 853 kilometers of coastline (530 miles). Nigeria is located between latitudes 4° and 14° North and longitudes 2° and 15° East.
Chappal Waddiat (2,419 m) is Nigeria’s highest peak (7,936 ft). The two major rivers are the Niger and the Benue, which meet and empty into the Niger Delta. This is one of the world’s biggest river deltas, including a significant region of Central African mangroves.
Nigeria’s terrain is diverse. The extreme south is characterized by its tropical rainforest environment, with annual rainfall ranging from 60 to 80 inches (1,500 to 2,000 mm). The Obudu Plateau is located in the southeast. Coastal plains may be found in both the southwest and southeast of the United States. Because of the abundance of mangroves in the region, the most southern part of this forest zone is designated as a “salt water swamp,” also known as a mangrove swamp. North of this is a fresh water swamp with flora that differs from the salt water swamp, and north of that is a rain forest.
The valleys of the Niger and Benue rivers constitute Nigeria’s most extensive topographical area (which merge into each other and form a “y” shape). The “rugged” upland to the southwest of the Niger. To the southeast of Benue are hills and mountains that comprise the Mambilla Plateau, Nigeria’s highest plateau. This plateau stretches all the way to the Cameroonian border, where the montane terrain is part of the Cameroonian Bamenda Highlands.
The area along the Cameroonian border near the coast is rich in rainforest and is part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests ecoregion, an important biodiversity hotspot. It is home to the drill monkey, which can only be found in the wild in this region and over the border in Cameroon. The regions around Calabar, Cross River State, which are also in this forest, are said to have the greatest variety of butterflies in the world. The region of southern Nigeria between the Niger and Cross Rivers has lost much of its forest due to urbanization and increasing population harvesting, and it has been replaced by grassland.
Savannah covers everything between the extreme south and the far north (insignificant tree cover, with grasses and flowers located between trees). Rainfall is relatively restricted, averaging 500 to 1,500 millimetres (20 to 60 inches) each year. Guinean forest-savanna mosaic, Sudan savannah, and Sahelsavannah are the three types of the savannah zone. The Guinean forest-savanna mosaic consists of tall grass plains broken by trees. Sudan savannah is similar, but the grasses and trees are shorter. In the northeast, sahel savannah consists of areas of grass and sand. Rainfall in the Sahel area is fewer than 500 millimetres (20 in) each year, and the Sahara Desert is closing in. Lake Chad, which Nigeria shares with Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, is located in the country’s arid north-east corner.
Nigeria’s Delta area, home to the country’s major oil sector, is plagued by severe oil spills and other environmental issues, which has led to violence.
The main environmental issues in Nigeria include waste management, particularly sewage treatment, the related processes of deforestation and soil degradation, and climate change or global warming. Garbage management issues in a megacity like Lagos and other large Nigerian cities are related to economic development, population expansion, and municipal governments’ incapacity to handle the resultant increase in industrial and residential waste. This massive waste management problem is also due to the unsustainable environmental management lifestyles of the KubwaCommunity in the Federal Capital Territory, where there are habits of indiscriminate waste disposal, dumping of waste along or into canals, sewerage systems that are channels for water flows, and so on.
High levels of trash pollution in major Nigerian cities are attributed to haphazard industrial development, increasing urbanisation, poverty, and municipal government incompetence. Some of the’solutions’ have been environmentally catastrophic, resulting in untreated garbage being deposited in areas where it may contaminate rivers and groundwater.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Nigeria had the greatest rate of deforestation in the world in 2005. (FAO). In 2005, 12.2 percent of Nigeria’s land area, or 11,089,000 hectares, was wooded. Between 1990 and 2000, Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest each year, equating to a 2.38 percent annual deforestation rate. Nigeria lost 35.7 percent of its forest cover, or about 6,145,000 hectares, between 1990 and 2005.
Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market by the World Bank, and has already attained lower middle income status due to its abundant natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, and transportation sectors, and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is Africa’s second largest.
In 2012, Nigeria was ranked 30th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP). Nigeria is the United States’ most important trade partner in Sub-Saharan Africa, supplying one-fifth of its oil (11 percent of oil imports). It has the world’s seventh-largest trade surplus with the United States. Nigeria is the 50th-largest export market for US products, as well as the 14th-largest exporter to the US. The United States is the biggest foreign investor in the nation. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasted economic growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009. According to the IMF, the Nigerian economy would expand by 8% in 2011.
According to Citigroup, Nigeria would have the greatest average GDP growth rate in the world between 2010 and 2050. Nigeria is one of two African nations among the 11 Global Growth Generators.
Previously, years of military dictatorship, corruption, and incompetence hampered economic growth. The restoration of democracy and following economic reforms have effectively returned Nigeria to its full economic potential. It surpassed South Africa to become Africa’s biggest economy in 2014.
During the 1970s oil boom, Nigeria amassed a sizable foreign debt in order to fund massive infrastructure projects. As oil prices fell during the 1980s oil glut, Nigeria struggled to keep up with loan payments and ultimately defaulted on principle debt installments, restricting repayment to the interest component of the loans. Arrears and penalty interest accrued on the unpaid principle, increasing the debt’s size. Following talks by Nigerian officials, Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors struck a deal in October 2005 in which Nigeria repurchased its debt at a discount of roughly 60%. Nigeria utilized a portion of its oil revenues to pay the remaining 40%, freeing up at least $1.15 billion per year for poverty-reduction programs. Nigeria made history in April 2006 when it became the first African nation to fully pay off its Paris Club debt (estimated at $30 billion).
Nigeria is attempting to achieve the first of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to eradicate poverty in all of its manifestations by 2030. Official action by government authorities has not been done to achieve this. One of the numerous ways to do this would be to decrease the amount of corruption inside the state.