As of midyear 2019, Nigeria had a population of 201 million, with an annual population growth rate of 2.5%. Overall, 44% of Nigeria’s population was under age 15. Nigeria is on the path to a population age structure that may enable it to experience a DD. Its realization relies on enabling a favorable policy environment. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR), or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, has declined from 6.5 children in 1990 to 5.3 children per woman in 2015.

The broad base of Nigeria’s 2020 population pyramid represents a large number of children in relation to the working-age population. However, compared to past decades the base is beginning to narrow at the youngest ages, representing a fertility decline. United Nations projections based on assumptions of continued moderate fertility decline demonstrate that by 2030, fertility will decline to an average of 4.9 children per woman over her lifespan. Further projections to 2050 show fertility to decline further to 3.7 children per woman. In this 2050 scenario, Nigeria would have a larger proportion of the population working-age and, if able to secure employment, able to contribute to economic growth.

Nigeria Development Data

Snapshot of the enabling environment for a demographic dividend
Economic Indicators

Percent of Population living on less than $1.per day (2009)53.5%
Annual GDP Growth rate:
GINI Index: 43

Demographic Indicators

Total Fertility Rate: 5.3 children per woman
Percent of Population Under 15: 44%
Dependancy Ratio: 87 dependents per 100 working-age adults

Health Indicators

Life Expectancy: 54.0 years (Male53 ; Female: 55)
Infant Mortality: 67 deaths per 1,000 live births
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (all methods): 17%

Education Indicators

World bank education indicators (2010)
Pre-primary net enrollment: –
Primary education net enrollment: 64%
Proportion completing primary: 74%
Net enrollment in secondary education: –
Gross enrollment in tertiary education: 10%
Adult literacy rate (+15 years): 6% 

Completed Primary School or Higher
Among Men ages 15-19: 75.6%
Among Men ages 20-24: 80.4%
Among Women ages 15-19: 71.8%
Among Women ages 20-24: 66.6%

Completed Secondary School or Higher
Among Men ages 20-24: 60.3%
Among Women ages 20-24: 46%
Median schooling for males ages 15-49: 9.1 years
Median schooling for females ages 15-49: 5.6 years

Governance Indicators

Political Stability: -2.08
Government Effectiveness: -1.01
Global Competitiveness Index: 3.4

Population pyramids can be used to show change to age structure over time as well as projected changes to age structure in the future. Looking at Nigeria’s population pyramids, not much change to age structure is evident until “Nigeria 2030”.

Nigeria’s population pyramids from 1970 to 2010 look nearly identical. The lack of change between these pyramids means that the age structure of the country hasn’t changed much in the last 40 years. Total fertility rates in the country remain high and, in general, each working age adult supports several dependents. “Nigeria 2030” looks different than previous pyramids and is based on United Nations projections that assume a decline in total fertility to 4.9 children per woman over her lifespan. As a result, a slight narrowing of the base of this population pyramid is evident. “Nigeria 2050” shows a more noticeable narrowing of the base of the population pyramid, based on the assumption that fertility will decline further to 3.7 children per woman. In this 2050 scenario, Nigeria would have a larger proportion of the population working-age and, if able to secure employment, able to contribute to economic growth.

44% of Nigeria’s population is under age 15

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Nigeria

Demographic Dividend Effort Index and scorecard

In November 2020, the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, the National Population Commission (NPC), and the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs-Nigeria launched the Demographic Dividend Effort Index (DDEI) at the 2020 National Family Planning Conference. The Demographic Dividend Effort Index was developed based on a novel demographic dividend cultivation framework that resulted from a systematic literature review conducted by the Gates Institute.

The Nigeria DDEI report was officially launched by the National Population Commission which also formally recognized this index as a tool that will be used by the government to bridge the gaps, inform new policies, and serve as a monitoring tool for the Government efforts in key demographic dividend sectors namely Family Planning, Maternal, and Child Health, Women Empowerment, Education, Labor Market, and Governance and Economic Institutions. The NPC committed to implementing this tool at the National and Sub-national levels. Considering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemics on all these sectors, the DDEI report also covered multisectoral measures of health and development systems resilience.

Funding for the development of the demographic dividend effort index was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a grant to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Read the Nigeria demographic dividend effort index report

Watch the National Population Commission Chairman Press Briefing on Nigeria DDEI

Read the Gates Institute demographic dividend cultivation framework systematic literature review

Explore the demographic dividend scorecard dashboard

There are also other few organizations that have researched the topic of a demographic dividend in Nigeria.


Population Reference Bureau, 2019 World Population Data Sheet, (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2019).

United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision, (New York: United Nations, 2019).

World Bank Group. (2019) World DataBank. Retrieved from

Education statistics were taken from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey for each country.

World Bank Group. (2014) Worldwide Governance Indicators. Retrieved from

World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, (Geneva: Switzerland, 2014).


Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Thus a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality.

Dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents–people younger than 15 or older than 64–to the working-age population–those ages 15 to 64. Although each country’s experience is different, countries that have realized a demographic dividend typically have a dependency ratio of less than 50 dependents for every 100 working-age adults.

Worldwide Governance Indicators are measured on a scale from -2.5 to +2.5. The closer to 2.5 the rating is, the stronger the governance. Government Effectiveness is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources. Political stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources More information on methodology available at:

Global Competitiveness Index defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy. The different aspects of competitiveness are captured in 12 pillars, ranging from institutional strength to market size.