Nigeria to become the 3rd most populous country by 2050. What does this mean?

Dubbed the giants of Africa, Nigeria is one of the continent's most populous countries, and according to estimates, the country is set to grow in numbers.


Nigeria’s population is currently between 216 million to 218 million, depending on the source, and the population is expected to keep growing.

According to Statista, one of the world’s leading market and consumer data providers, Nigeria’s population from the year 2025 to 2050, is projected to double in size to over 400 million.

The implications of such a massive increase could be both positive and negative. On the one hand, if managed properly, population growth could boost the economy to new heights. On the other hand population density inevitably leads to controllable yet exasperating factors like pollution and congestion.

Fortunately, there is reason to believe that growth in Nigeria’s population would lead to a growth in its economic activities, as we have a sample size of 62 years to prove this.

While it would be gross misinformation to dismiss the country’s current abysmal economic state, it would also be misleading to conceal Nigeria’s obvious commercial revolution.

Thanks to the emergence of tech, Nigeria has been able to output more and draw in larger revenue pools in different sectors.

For some context, Nigeria’s population in 1990 was 95.21 and its GDP was 54.04. The country’s population in 2000 was 122.3 million and its GDP was 69.45 billion USD. Today, Nigeria’s population stands at 216 million and its GDP is 407 billion USD.

At the very least, this data demonstrates Nigeria’s ability to adapt. Every time there are more people to service, the country manages to find new ways to service them. This is not to ignore the flagrant mismanagement of the country’s resources and wealth as a result, but to highlight the country’s ability to evolve rather than stagnate or worse, decline, in the face of adversity.

Till today, Nigeria remains one of the most prosperous countries in Africa, as it recorded the highest GDP of any African country in 2021. It also boasts some of the most ingenious, athletic, and talented people in the world.

Assuming the country doesn’t become too hostile, here are five positive developments the country could experience if its population size doubles:

More production output: An increase in population would mean that the country has more need to produce. Fortunately, Nigeria is blessed with tremendous natural and, most importantly, human resources. The past decade has seen an astronomical increase in the country's tech-driven solutions. Tech integration in agriculture, finance, and oil has sped up and improved the production of goods for both domestic and foreign trade. This is thanks to the synergy of Nigeria’s innovative minds and the natural wealth in its lands.

Brain drain fix: An increase in the number of people in the country would ensure that there are enough creative minds to service the country, even after some may have migrated. Currently, there is a massive brain drain in Nigeria owing to the country’s economic climate. But with more people, there would be more opportunities to procure solutions here in the homeland. More innovative minds would be incentivized to use their talents here, and the country is going to be better off for it.

Diversification of economy: Nigeria throughout its history has thrived on diversity. Different people specialize in different things. This synergy has kept the country afloat, as an abundance in business, arts, engineering, and more could be found within a single border. Today, this diversity is becoming more expedient as people are learning from each other and becoming more diversified in their skills. With a population hike, this diversification would reflect positively on the economy as it currently is, and there would be more people who can simply do more.

Commercialization of other states: Commercial activities attract people. This is the reason why states like Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Anambra, and Imo state are densely populated. But what happens when the population is too much in a particular economic hub? More economic hubs have to be created. State governments from other states would be forced to commercialize their states, making it attractive for residents to stay, rather than leave and overpopulate another metropolis.

Socio-economic restructuring: With more people, there would be a need to restructure the government. In this regard, it's not necessarily that there is a larger number of people demanding better from the government, but more the fact that there is an evolution in ideologies and principles of newer generations. Already the Nigerian government is hard-pressed to pander to the concerns of Gen Z and Millennials as both these demographics are more informed and enlightened. As this trend continues, modernization of constitutions and bills would be mandated, and subsequent government administrations would be held to higher standards of accountability than their predecessors.

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