Country Listing

Nigeria Table of Contents



Population: Population and growth estimates varied widely. World Bank estimated 1990 population at 119 million; however, 1991 preliminary census figures published in 1992 gave population total of 88.5 million. Growth rate in 1990 estimated about 3.3 percent; 28 percent of population urban in 1985.

Ethnic Groups: 250 to 400 or more recognized groups, many divided into subgroups of considerable social and political importance. Most important ethnolinguistic categories: Hausa and Fulani in north, Yoruba in southwest, and Igbo in southeast, all internally subdivided. Next major groups: Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Ijaw.

Languages: Number of languages estimated at 350 to 400, many with dialects. Most important: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Hausa major language in north. English official language used in government, large-scale business, mass media, and education beyond primary school. Several other languages also recognized for primary education. Classical Arabic of religious significance in north.

Religion: In last officially accepted census (1963), about 47 percent of population self-identified as Muslims (chiefly adherents of Sunni Islam), nearly 35 percent as Christians, and more than 18 percent as other (almost entirely adherents of indigenous religions). Majority of north Muslim; south mainly non-Muslim, primarily Christian; middle belt mixed faiths. Mission-related Christian churches (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and others), African independent churches, and Aladura Church present.

Education: Universal primary education (six-year program) responsibility of state and local governments. Great increase in enrollments (about 12 million in government primary schools, additional millions in Muslim and Christian private schools in 1985). Responsibility for secondary education shared by federal and state governments; also some private schools; 3.7 million in government secondary schools in 1985. In 1990 between 150,000 and 200,000 in thirty-five colleges, universities, and higher technical schools.

Health: Major prevalent diseases included cerebrospinal meningitis, yellow fever, Lassa fever, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), malaria, guinea worm, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, and malnutrition among young children. Medical establishments owned by federal, state, and local governments and private groups. Shortage of medical facilities and physicians in rural areas. Primary Health Care Plan launched in late 1980s, including expanded immunization campaign.

Data as of June 1991