This study was intended to examine the impact of population growth on unemployment in Nigeria. This study was guided by the following objectives; to determine the impact of population growth on unemployment in Nigeria, to ascertain the relationship between population growth and unemployment in Nigeria and to identify the causes of unemployment in Nigeria. The study utilizes secondary data extracted from the published annual reports of the National Population Census Commission used for the study. Data collected were analyzed using frequencies and percentages. The study findings revealed that there is a positive, strong and significant relationship of 0.917 between population growth and unemployment rate in Nigeria; based on the findings from the study, Agriculture should be promoted. This requires designing and implementing policies that make the sector more attractive than it is today. These should include a better organization of the sector in terms of both production and marketing.



1.1 Background to the Study

As the twenty –first century began, the world’s population was estimated to be almost 6.1 billion people. Projections by the United Nations placed the figure at more than 9.2 billon by the year 2050 before reaching a maximum of 11 billion by 2200. Over 90% of that population will inhabit the developing world (Todaro and Smith, 2006). Two thousand years ago population growth and production were positively correlated. More people meant greater productivity and security. The current modernization and technological advancement of today’s world is highly attributable to centuries of rapid population growth and economic expansion. Hundreds of years ago, when societies and economies initially began to flourish, success was dependent upon a productive agricultural sector. A growing population meant more workers and laborers who would increase overall output. With more productive labor, the economy inevitably expanded and society reaped the financial benefits (Tartiyus, Dauda and Peter, 2015). Centuries ago, population booms were positive indications of the potential for long term economic growth. High fertility rates during these times allowed for increased labourers and also helped overcome the correspondingly exorbitant death rates. The combined effects of “famine, disease, malnutrition, plague and war” resulted in death rates that were high and inconsistent. Given the lack of modern medicine that many countries faced until recently, death rates remained relatively elevated for several centuries. Thus, in order to have any net population growth and eventual economic development, fertility rates had to be elevated (Latimer and Kulkarni, 2008).

After the independence in 1960, a successful population census was carried out in Nigeria in 1964, which an estimated population of 55.6 million people was taken into account. Since then, it became obvious that Nigeria’s population was leading to a rapid population growth. In 1991, a population census was held and the country’s population increased to an approximated 88.5 million people. The analysis helped the National Development Planning to gain more insight and enable them to improve and develop more on their policies and planning (Evans, 2011). The UNDP reported in 2007 that the Nigerian population continuously increased at 3% per annum with birth rate of 40 per 1,000 and also a death rate of 15 per 1,000 (Gideon, 2016). It was also estimated that an educated Nigerian woman gives birth to a lesser number of 3 children compared to an average Nigerian woman who gives birth to 6 children in her lifetime. From analysis of the past census and reports, it is evident that the population has been rapidly growing at a high rate of 250% from 1964 to present. This makes it problematic to match the population growth rate and development of the country (Evans, 2011).

Nigeria at present has the highest population in Africa and the 10th in the world. It was reported that the Nigerian population is associated with three factors namely; fertility, migration and mortality. It was noticed that the population growth increases at 3% which implies a doubling time of 22years (Gideon, 2016). This also means that the country is growing at a geometric progression. The problem with this is the capacity of the country’s economy to also grow proportionately that it will cope and accommodate the increased population. The low mortality of 14 per 1,000 decreased infant mortality rate and higher life expectancy signifies a problem because it indicates a higher chance of survival (Evans, 2011).