Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Nigeria
In many ways, the situation of the Niger River can be taken to characterize the country that bears its name, Nigeria. In the Igbo language — a large ethnic group in Nigeria — the river’s name means “great water,” and this name is substantially representative of Nigeria. Not only does Nigeria contain a large portion of the river, but it boasts the largest economy in Africa; thus, the nation could be said to be a “great water” in the large economic sea of the African continent.

But in Africa, an expansive and diverse continent with a wide variety of living conditions, how does Nigeria rank in its citizens’ quality of life? Is Nigeria’s economic progress translating into better living conditions for its people? Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Nigeria which aim to shed some light on these questions.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Nigeria

  1. In Nigeria, the average life expectancy is 53 years. While low compared to western standards, this figure is dramatically higher than the 37 expected years in 1960. What’s more, in just the last two decades this figure has increased seven years from the 46-year expectancy in 2000.
  2. Poor living conditions are more common in urban environments. In an article written for the Journal of the Arts and Humanities, authors Babatunde Femi Akinyode, Emilia Oluwafolakemi Martins conclude that deteriorated houses are centered on urban areas — particularly in the western city of Ogbomosho.
  3. Fighting in the Borno state has decreased the quality of life for its residents. In a 2016 article done by Doctors Without Borders, many in the area were said to have been cut off from all humanitarian aid due to fighting between the Nigerian military and the militant group Boko Haram. Fighting still continues as of last month.
  4. Nigeria leads Africa in total people without internet access. Despite having the most people online, 53 percent of Nigerians lack internet access. Furthermore, the country lags behind wealthier countries like Egypt which have a smaller portion without internet access.
  5. Nigeria has an unemployment rate of 18.8 percent. Yet this rate has been climbing steadily for over 2 years, and one article written by Yomi Kazeem states that this trend has no sign of slowing. Nigeria’s job scarcity is exemplified by the fact that nearly one million people applied for 10,000 positions in the Nigerian police force in May 2016.
  6. Access to clean water is a persistent problem for Nigerians. USAID reports that many Nigerians struggle with access to clean water, and this struggle remains a particularly dire situation in the northern part of the country in which only 30 percent of the population have access to safe drinking water.
  7. Nigeria has a problem with air pollution. According to the Little Green Data Book published by the World Bank in 2017, 100 percent of the population is exposed to higher pm2.5 (particulate matter) pollution than is advised in the World Health Organization guidelines. WHO recommends that levels of PM 2.5 be kept under 10 micrograms per cubic meter; however, the mean level in Nigeria is 26 micrograms per cubic meter. By contrast, the United States’ value is 8.
  8. Nigeria has the second largest HIV/AIDS positive population in the World. Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS accounts for nine percent of the world’s HIV burden, and the largest global burden of malaria. Combined, these two facts indicate Nigeria’s struggle with maintaining the health of its citizens’ lives.
  9. Nigeria is in the bottom half of countries in terms of happiness. This study ranks happiness by combining statistics on per capita GDP, freedom to make life decisions, healthy life expectancy, generosity, social support, generosity and perceptions of corruption. Nigeria, although in the bottom half of the study, does indeed rank ahead of many of its sub-Saharan counterparts.
  10. Nigeria’s Human Development Index has increased by over 18 percent from 2003 to 2015. Despite many setbacks, it is clear that the people in Nigeria have made improvements in their quality of life. An increasing number of people are free to live lives unburdened with extreme material deprivation.


These top 10 facts about living conditions in Nigeria indicate that like many developing economies, Nigeria is a country at a crossroad. In Nigeria there is palpable wealth, modern cities, and at the same time, distressed rural areas complete with violence. Yet, after weathering a recent a recent economic downturn, Nigeria may very well push forward towards a brighter future for all its citizens.

– William Menchaca

Photo: Flickr

Population Growth in Nigeria
Africa is projected to account for more than 50 percent of the global population increase between 2015 and 2050. Future efforts to tackle poverty on the continent, therefore, will have to take a larger number of people into account. According to a study published by the U.N., Nigeria is expected to be the third most densely populated country in the world by 2050. The projected population growth in Nigeria, combined with its widespread poverty, will have consequences for the entire country.

It may be challenging to create primary and secondary schooling opportunities, health care facilities, clinics and transport at a rate sufficient to keep up with population growth in Nigeria. As a result, poor households may continue in poverty due to insufficient access to facilities that can improve employment and health prospects.

High unemployment rates in Nigeria are also an area of concern, as jobs are projected to become more scarce in the future due to rapid population growth. In 2015, approximately 70 percent of Nigeria’s youth population experienced either unemployment or underemployment. This statistic is unlikely to improve unless a conscious effort is made to create jobs in the country and to improve skills and technical knowledge.

Resources in the country such as food, water, energy and electricity are currently sparse and are likely to become progressively more so as the population increases. Active measures to expand these resources include providing financial incentives for farming and food industries and setting up local clean water supplies and power sources to sustain individual communities.

Nigeria’s growing population could have some positive effects if humanitarian efforts to eradicate poverty are directed toward younger generations. Increasing numbers of working age individuals can enhance economic growth and output if those individuals are equipped with training and education to improve their employability.

The issue of exponential population growth also needs to be targeted at its core. Quality family planning services need to be made readily accessible in rural Nigerian communities in order to ensure that households are well-informed about the responsibilities and costs involved in raising a child.

Population growth in Nigeria may well strain the country’s resources, but if appropriate measures are enacted, Nigeria will be sufficiently prepared for the years to come.

Tanvi Ambulkar

Photo: Flickr