Nigeria’s Population reached 182 million this year with more than half its people under 30 years of age, putting a severe strain on a nation suffering from a slowing economy and declining revenue to provide enough schools and health facilities.
According to the Director-General of National Population Commission, NPC, Ghaji Bello, who disclosed this in Abuja, the latest estimate was 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.
He said Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is witnessing a growing youth bulge, with those under 14 years accounting for more than 40 percent of its citizens, 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.
Bello said: “The implication is that they’re assets, they’re are the future of our country, but they are also liabilities. We need to know how to plan for their transition from youths to the next category. It has implications for education, health and security, particularly in our environment where you have a lot of unemployment.”
Nigeria’s Population is the world’s seventh largest and the fastest-growing among the 10 most populous countries globally. It is projected to exceed that of the U.S. to become the third-largest with more than 300 million people by 2050, according to the United Nations.
Plans to hold a census this year were delayed by the election of a new government in 2015 and a plunge in state revenue due to low prices for crude, the country’s main export, and slashed output caused by militant attacks in the southern oil region.
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To ensure an accurate figure when it does take place, the commission plans to obtain the biometric data of citizens counted to curtail the temptation to inflate numbers by states and municipalities in a bid to attract more social benefits and services based on larger numbers.