THE IMPACT OF POPULATION GROWTH ON THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY (1980-2010
1.1 THE BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The consequences of population growth on the economic development of less developed countries are not the same because the condition prevailing in these countries are quite different from those of developed economy. Therefore the body of literature on population growth in Nigeria has always emphasized either the negative or the positive effect.
Therefore in every discussion, it is conventional to start with a definition of terms used in such discussion. However, population growth can be seen by a demographer as a change in the size of the population. But when this change occurs in such a way that it reduces the size of population, the demographer refers it as a negative growth but when it adds to the size of the population he regards it as a positive one. What we get from this concept is that population growth can be positive or negative depending on whether there is an increase or
decrease in the size of a given population. Population whether positive or negative is derived from three demographic variables such as birth, death and migration rates
Udabah (1999) Threw more light on this by adding that birth and death rates in underdeveloped countries are quite different from that of developed countries. Births rate in underdeveloped are generally high, why those of developed countries are low. On the other hand, death rates are higher in underdeveloped nations. The higher rate of population growth is therefore a major characteristic of underdeveloped nations and is partly responsible for the low rates of economic development.
Moreover, the population of any country constitutes the most vital component of its resource base. This aspect is based mostly on its size, growth rate, spatial distribution, demographic structure and quality in terms of level of education, fitness and social welfare. Population statistics are indispensable impute into the planning process in any area. To government issuing programmes for instance in the efforts of government in the developing countries to feed the people and also
provide quality services for them are being frustrated by rapid population growth. This growth is attributable on the one hand to improvement in human survival associated with the application of modern medical science to health matters, better sanitation and immunization of children which have caused the death rate to decrease.
On the other hand, so many socio-cultural issues have complimented the growth of population in Nigeria positively (Lee and Miler 1990, Rennne 1995, Ainsword et al 1996).
Consequently, the world population has been increasing and the last two decades have been demographically unprecedented as it rose from 4.2 billion people in 1985 to 6.4 billion in 2010. Much of this occurred in the developing nations as their population grew from 3.7 billion to 5.1 billion as against that of developed nation which grew from 1.1 billion to 1.2 billion over the same period (United Nation 2001 billion).
Nigerian‟s population is one of the fastest growing population in the world and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, ranked the tenths as obtained from two major sources, viz the 1991 census and the Population Reference Bureau World Population Data Sheet.
Obviously, the population of Nigeria is large which makes it a “giant” relative to the other Africa countries. The large population of Nigeria implies a large market for goods and services as well as large pool of human resources for development. However, the impact of population on development depends not only on the absolute size but also on its quality. The major function responsible for the rapid increase in the population of the country is the relatively high fertility level as portrayed by a total fertility rate of about 6.0 life – birth per woman in the 1990‟s
Having seen from theoretical and empirical view that the population growth is an impediment to the economic growth and development especially under developing countries. It is then important to answer this question, how detrimental is population growth to the economic growth? To answer these we look into the interactions between population growth and any of the economic variable such as , population growth, unemployment, savings ,interest, and inflation etc. So in this research work, our demonstration of the impact of population on economic growth will be based on the study of the relationship
between population growth, interest, unemployment and inflation. Now the question to answer becomes how those population growth influences unemployment? Since we are working on the impact of population growth on Nigeria, as whose population according the 2006 census was estimated to be at a growth rate of 3%, our limitation of this study would be on the Nigeria GDP (Gross Domestic Product) or GNI (GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT) versus the population growth rate of Nigeria.
Nevertheless, economic growth is the GDP OR GNI divided by the total population of the whole country. This measures the level of output in the economy. This equation implies that if population is rapidly growing, the economic growth will reduce marginally and people income will also decrease. So according to the finding, GDP can be improved that is GDP per capital by checking the population growth rate through birth control, death rate, migration and some other economic variables and demographic variables.