Nigeria: Population


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In today’s class, we will be talking about Nigeria: population. Enjoy the class!

Nigeria: Population

Nigeria: Population

Population is defined as the number of people living in an area at a particular time. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of over 150 million people.

Population concepts

  1. Overpopulation: This is a situation when a country has more people than its physical and human resources can accommodate. Here, the population exceeds the available resources of the country.
  2. Under population: This is a situation when a country has fewer people than its physical and human resources can accommodate. Here, the population is less than the available resources of the country.
  3. Optimum population: This is a population which is neither too small nor great, but when combined with the available resources and given the level of existing technology secures a maximum return per head.


  1. Define population.
  2. Differentiate between overpopulation and under population.

Population density

This refers to the number of persons per square kilometre of land. The population density of a country can be expressed mathematically as

Total population = (Population density/Total population) x Total land area


Calculate the population density of Nigeria, having a total population of 88,514,501 with a total land area of 923,768 sq km.


Total Population = 88,514,501

Total land area   = 923,768 km

Population density = Total population / Total land area =88,514,501 / 923,768 = 96 person / km2 


  1. Explain population density.

Distribution of the population in Nigeria

The population of Nigeria is not evenly distributed. There are areas of high, moderate and low population densities.

Areas of high population densities (i.e. above 96 /km2 )
  1. The Yoruba Land (Lagos, Ibadan, Akure and Abeokuta)
  2. The Hausa land (Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Sokoto)
  3. The Ibo Land (Enugu, Onitsha, Owerri and Aba)
Reasons for high population density
  1. Favourable Climate
  2. Fertile Soil
  3. Natural attachment / Historical factors
  4. Administrative headquarters
  5. Employment opportunities
  6. Presence of minerals
  7. Presence of industries
  8. Presence of social amenities
  9. Commercial activities.
Advantages of high population densities
  1. Large labour force for industries
  2. Large market for goods
  3. Togetherness
  4. Quick dissemination of information
  5. Defence.
Disadvantages of high population density
  1. Traffic congestion
  2. Pressure on social amenities
  3. Inadequate health services
  4. Environmental pollution
  5. Insufficient food
  6. Increase in crime rate
  7. Pressure on natural resources
  8. Unemployment/ Underemployment
  9. Development of slums and ghettos.
Areas of moderate population densities in Nigeria
  1. Benin city
  2. Bauchi
  3. Ilorin
  4. Dutse
  5. Kaduna
  6. Uyo
  7. Calabar
  8. Owerri
  9. Bauchi, etc
Areas of low population densities (i.e below 96 persons /km2)
  1. The middle belt (Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Niger and Abuja)
  2. The Niger delta area
  3. The extreme northeast Bornu and Yobe States.
Reasons for low population densities
  1. Relief especially the presence of rugged relief.
  2. Drainage i.e. the presence of rivers
  3. Unfavourable climate
  4. Poor soils
  5. Historical factors e.g. the trans-Sahara slave trade aided the depopulation of the middle belt.
  6. Presence of some insects
  7. Low economic activities
  8. Inaccessibility
Advantages of low population
  1. Abundant resources
  2. Low crime rate
  3. Adequate planning
  4. Regular flow of traffic
  5. High per capita income
  6. High standard of living
  7. Low pressure on solid amenities
Disadvantages of low population
  1. Inadequate labour force
  2. Under-utilization of infrastructures
  3. Deterioration of infrastructures
  4. Wastage of output
  5. Low output
  6. Disincentive to government.


  1. Mention areas of high population density in Nigeria.
  2. Give reasons for such a high population in the areas mentioned above.
General evaluation
  1. Define population.
  2. Describe the population size of Nigeria.
  3. Explain the population distribution in Nigeria.
  4. State advantages of low population.
  5. What are the disadvantages of a high population?

Reading assignment

Essential Geography, O.A. Iwena Pages 251-254.


Draw a sketch map of Nigeria and on it, mark and name:

  1. One area of high population density
  2. One area of low population density
  3. One town in each area shown


In our next class, we will be talking about Nigeria: Agriculture.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

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