Effects And Causes Of Overpopulation In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Economics

Effects And Causes Of Overpopulation In Nigeria


This research work was designed to find out the causes and effect of overpopulation in Nigerian. In carrying out this research, the researcher visited some Areas in Edo State, and questionnaires were used to elicit information for the general public, and these information’s were analyzed in form of tables. It was observed that polygamy; illiteracy, poverty and early marriage are some of the reasons responsible for the rapid increase in population. Also the effects have raised concerns that the planned economy may not be able to sustain present or large number of inhabitants. Hence, having few number of children, monogamy and improvement in the standard of living are the solutions to the resultant effects of population explosion in Nigeria.

The following recommendations were made. The government should improve the appalling health sector of this country; there is need for the elimination of harmful practices such as sexual trafficking and violence against women. Government should endeavour to provide programmes that will stress on the continuo’s use of family planning services, women should be educated and empowered. Finally, if the government can provide incentives for smaller families, exponential population growth can be checked.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Population in biology is referred to as the total number of organisms of the same species in a give habitat at a given time. In respect of human population, population can be defined as the total number of people in a given country (Obueh, 2006). The size and structure of human population have been completely changed by a number of factors including higher incomes, improved nutrition, safe and sufficient water and sanitation, wide availability of immunization, high effective drugs against infectious diseases, increased education and technological development. It is therefore correct to state that the economic growth of a nation is significantly dependent on the growth of its population.

Nigeria is one of the fastest growing countries in the world with an estimated population of one hundred and forty million (140,000,000) and an annual population growth rate of 2.9% (Npc, 2006).

Nigeria is the most populous nation in sub Saharan Africa and the tenth most populous in the world. However, the composition of this population is mainly in the youthful category with 49% being youths below the age of twenty-one (21) and a dependency ratio estimated at 89%. A large proportion of this population favours and is living in the rapidly expanding urban area, presently estimated at over 45.2% and will likely hit 55.4% mark by the year 2015 (UNDP, 2007)

With this statistics however, the population dynamics shows profound inequities and disproportions when analyzed with the development indicators, such as, twenty-one doctors per one hundred thousand people, infant mortality rate of 122 per 1000 live births, maternal of mortality over 980 per 100,000 live births, life expectancy at birth projected at 50. 1 years (population growth and economic development in Nigeria, 2008)

Umeh (1996) suggested that the population of a place must be such that the available food can sustain it for a very long time. The question of population and population growth and the related food and growth in food population are serious concern to nations and their leaders. This is because increased population has direct consequence on food consumption in the most developing countries; population growth rate is close to crisis situation.

World population statistics tell a powerful story about how people and nations around the world are changing. The world’s population is growing substantially every year, but the pace of growth varies dramatically from one region to another some countries have aging population and as a result, face future population decline while others still have young and rapidly growing populations. Each situation is associated with its own set of social, economic, environmental and political challenges (Obueh, 2008).

However, the world population by mid 2010 reached 6. 892 billion according to the population reference Burea 2010 world population data sheet. Most future population growth will be in countries that have relatively large number of young people where large families are still the norm. Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia are the fastest growing regions of the world. In contrast, much of the industrialized world is experiencing much slower growth or even population decline. The United States in an exception in the industrialized world, mainly because of immigration and somewhat higher birth rates.

Table 1: The world population by mid 2010 (Obueh, 2008)

The table is available in the paid version of this material

Moreso, in the very near future, the majority of the world’s population will live in urban areas, which include towns and cities.

The population shift from rural to urban residents usually have higher educational levels, smaller families, higher incomes, better health and longer lives than rural residents. But the growth of urban population also strains the capacity of many developing countries to provide basic amenities for all residents, the prospects or public services than those in rural areas.

Table 2: The world’s most populous countries in 2010 (Obueh, 2008)

The table is available in the paid version of this material

Although, the 2006 march Nigeria census results released in January 2007, put Nigeria’s population as 140.3 million.

Table 3: Projected population in 2050 (Obueh, 2008)

The table is available in the paid version of this material

The world’s population is projected to grow to more than a billion in 2010 from 6.892 billion now. In a few years, India’s population would surpass that of china to become the most populous country in the world. From the data presented, it shows that Nigeria’s population would double in 2010. This is due to the young age structure and high fertility level causing high birth rates. Nearly half of Nigeria’s population is below age 15 and only 3% is above age 65.

In 1998, Nigeria adopted a national population policy which seeks to reduce population growth rate through voluntary fertility regulation and to promote the health and welfare of mothers and children, to improve the quality of life of all Nigerians. The main thrust of the policy is the recommendation to young couples not to have more than four children per family (or per woman). This could not be attained.

Despite the probable decline fertility in the 1990s, given the country’s age structure, Nigeria’s 1990 population was expected at least to double before the middle of the next century. Somewhat less than half of Nigeria’s 1990 population was younger than fifteen (15). As a result, even if population growth were to drop immediately to a replacement arte and remain there, the 1990 population would double before stabilizing. Nigeria thus could expect to deal with a population of more than 200 million probably within the next twenty-five years.

These projections suggested that population growth would be an issue of central concern for Nigeria for some time to come. Merely to remain at current per capital levels, agricultural production, industrials and other economic out put and provision of health and other social services would all need to double within twenty-five years. This situation was challenged of historic proportions for Nigeria, one faced by many other nations of Africa.

It is against this background therefore, that this study is initiated to find out the effects or consequences of population explosion in Edo State, Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It has been noted that in Nigeria, most especially, parents’ interest towards child bearing was to support more children in the society and will try to explore all the possible ways by making sure that they encourage other parents in supporting more children also, which has led to overpopulation.

However, the problem of overpopulation is not farfetched. Nigerians are not well educated on the need to control their birth rate and the effects it has on them as well as the society. The government can no longer provide adequate basic infrastructure for its citizen as a result of the explosion in population. Unemployment is one the increase as well as crime.

In addition, marrying of many wives (polygamy) illiteracy among couples, people attitude to family size, socio-cultural practices, early marriages and religious beliefs are also some of the problems that can be responsible for the explosion in population in Nigeria.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The following constitute the purpose for which this research is carried out.

  1. To examine the causes of overpopulation.
  2. To know whether these continuous increase in population has any effects on the Nigeria economy.
  3. To suggest some of the ways of resolving the problems associated with overpopulation.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study provides information about the causes of overpopulation. It also helps the researcher and readers to know whether socio-cultural practices and beliefs has led parents to support more children. The study also helps to ascertain whether overpopulation has effect on the economy and to what extent it has affected the economy. It enlightens the researcher on how to solve the problems associated with overpopulation in Edo State.

Finally, this study is significant in the sense that people would become familiar with the causes of population study and also the derivable benefits associated with them.

1.5 Research Questions

  1. What are the reasons for rapid growth in population?
  2. What are the effects of the continuous increase in population on the economy?
  3. What are the solutions to the problems associated with population explosion?

1.6 Scope of the Study

This research analysis is expected to cover the population increase and its problem in Nigeria with particular reference to Edo State.

1.7 Definition of Terms


This is the total number of organisms of the same kind in a given habitant at a particular time.

Population Growth:

This is the rate at which a population is increasing or decreasing in a given year due to natural increase and not migration, expressed as a percentage of the base population.

Human Population:

This can be defined as the total number of people in a given community at a particular time.


A large sudden or rapid increase in the amount or number of something.


This is where a large number of people live (densely populated).


These are facts or information especially when examine and used to find out things or make decisions.


This is defined as a change produced by an action or other cause.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Using the time-series data and multiple regression analysis we were able to determine the relationship that exists between population growth and economic growth. Our results show that economic growth has a significantly positive relationship with population growth. This suggests that as economic growth continues to rise in Nigeria, population growth will increase as well and vice-versa. The other explanatory variables used in the paper have also proven to be significant determinants of population growth.

This paper made use of the multiple regression model to test all the available independent and dependent variables, the result suggested that PGR and FER have a significantly positive relationship with economic growth, meaning an increase in one unit of either variable will lead to an increase in economic growth. While the MOR, INR and, UNR have a significantly negative relationship with economic growth, meaning an increase in either variable will lead to a decline in economic growth.

This paper also identified the relationship between population growth and economic growth using a granger causality test. The findings suggest that RGDP and population growth have a unidirectional relationship with each other.

5.2 Recommendation

Based on the findings from our research, the following are proposed recommendations that will help control the negative effects of population growth in Nigeria.

Firstly, The budgetary allocation for education as of 2020 is 48billion naira which is far less than the proposed budget for 2020 and only makes up for 6.7% of the entire budget plan. To adjust the effects of the illiteracy rate in Nigeria government should formulating expansionary fiscal policies that support the educational sector, and also ensure that resources and capital are efficiently distributed to the parts of the economy where they can be fully utilized to spur economic growth and also allocate more money in the budgetary planning.

The Central Bank of Nigeria should implement sustainable fiscal and monetary policies to prevent inflation from rising rapidly. Inflationary pressures automatically reduce the real wage of workers and their purchasing power most especially for those earning lower incomes. This drastically affects the standard of living in the country and widen the existing inequality gap. The government can put forward social protection programs and schemes to support vulnerable groups in society, particularly women, children, and people with disabilities.

With the implementation of strong monetary and fiscal policies, the government can regulate these policies by reducing discount rates, buying more government securities, and reducing the cash reserve ratio.

Secondly, the findings of this research paper show that population growth has a positive effect on Nigeria’s economic growth. This means that Nigeria is experiencing a surge in population growth which is concomitantly leading to poorer growth outcomes. Therefore, the Nigerian government should put in deliberate efforts to not just increasing economic growth rates but also finding long-term solutions to curb the increase in population growth. One of the ways this could be achieved is through attitudinal change particularly in the northern regions of the country where the population is booming. They should also provide educational mediums that educate households on family planning.

Thirdly, for the purpose of policy formation and implementation, policy makers should put in efforts in creating sustainable and rigid policies that will help to curb population growth in Nigeria, for example the government should set up programs that strongly advise against early marriages especially on children and also find ways to control the changes in nuptiality patterns in the country.

Fourthly, the Nigerian government should also invest in priority sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and design policies targeted towards creating productive employment. Literature posits that high levels of unemployment have a negative impact on lives and livelihoods and economic growth as a whole. Therefore, the government should as well create special employment benefits, which can be in the form of financial or non-financial aid in order to establish a competitive package for the employee.

The government should also ensure that jobs are available for university graduates. They can do so by creating job vacancies and as well as creating public awareness for available jobs in the different parts of the country.

Furthermore, because population growth is more rampant amongst the rural dwellers due to high levels of illiteracy and poor family planning (world bank data, 2018), the government should double their efforts by funding rural development projects, providing adequate social infrastructure in such areas, and also empower the people in these communities by creating a conducive environment for productive economic activities.

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