Nigeria’s population up 201 million as lower fertility rate, life expectancy rate of 55 years


With an average population growth of 2.6 per cent between 2010 and 2019, Nigeria now has a population of about 201 million.

The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled this estimate in its 2019 State of the World Population report.

The report said that Nigeria’s population grew by about 5 million people from 2018 when the country’s population was 195.9 million

The country has witnessed a population growth from 54.7 million in 1969 to 105.4 million in 1994 and 201.0 million in 2019.

According to UNFPA, the age distribution of 15-64 years is the highest population composition in the country with 54 per cent of Nigerians falling between the age range.

Forty-four per cent of Nigerians are within the age distribution 0-14 while 32 per cent of the population is between 10 and 24 years and a paltry 3 per cent are 65 and above.

The low percentage of those within the 65 and above age distribution is not entirely surprising with the life expectancy of Nigeria at 55 years old, one of the lowest across the world.


However, the estimate of life expectancy is higher than that given by the National Population Commission. Its chairman, Alhaji Hassan Bashir told the 52nd Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development in New York early this month that the overall life expectancy of Nigeria stands at 52.2 years.

He said Nigerians “60 years and over currently represents less than five per cent of the entire population, while overall life expectancy is 52.2 years”.

The UNFPA report indicates a slight drop in the fertility rate from 2018’s 5.4 births per woman to 5.3 births per woman. It continues the trend of dropping fertility rate over the years from 6.3 in 1994 to 5.3 in 2019.

The World population grew to 7.7 billion in 2019 while the life expectancy rate is 72 years.

UNFPA supports reproductive health care for women and youth across the world.

The report also indicated that 51 per cent of women aged 15-49 years who are married (or in union) make decisions on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

The country’s population is young: Also, the report further shows that Nigerians within the age group of 0-14 years rank second, comprising 32 percent of the country’s population, while Nigerians withing age group 10-24 years come third, constituting 32 percent of Nigeria’s population. Lastly, the least population of Nigerians fall within the age group of 65 above, comprising just 3% of Nigeria’s population.

What does this mean? This suggests that Nigeria has a very high prospect for economic growth, only if the country can harness its growth potentials in having the highest population in the working age category. It further stresses why unemployment is at such a high rate in the country.

Total fertility rate per woman declines: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), total fertility rate is the average number of children a woman would have if she survives all her childbearing (or reproductive) years. Earlier in 2015, WHO stated that Africa remains the region with the highest fertility at 4.7 children per woman, while Europe has the lowest fertility of 1.6 children per woman.

According to the UNFPA data, the total fertility rate in Nigeria has been on the fall since 1969. Specifically, the total fertility rate per woman was 6.4, while it dropped to 6.3 in 1994 and currently declined to 5.3. This is still high when compared to Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean that reportedly have a total fertility of 2.2 children per woman.

Basically, whenever a country’s rate drops below approximately 2.1, then populations is expected to eventually start to shrink.

Life expectancy fared better but Nigeria ranks 178th: The UNFPA report shows that life expectancy in Nigeria fared better between 1969 and 2019. In 1969, total life expectancy was 41 years, while it currently stands at 55 years in 2019.

However, according to WHO data, Nigeria ranks 178th in the global world ranking of life expectancy, with male life expectancy being 54.7 years while the female stays at 55.7. Nigeria’s life expectancy is quite low when compared to the 80 years for developed countries.

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