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Nigeria 2023 census: All you need to know and why it matters

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Nigeria dubbed the world’s most populous black nation, is set to conduct a population census after a 17-year hiatus. The duration is longer than the United Nations recommended ten years to ascertain the accurate number of its teeming population.

In an official announcement, the Chairman of Nigeria’s Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Kwarra, stated that the 2023 National Population and Housing Census was scheduled to hold from March 29 to April 1, 2023. Still, the commission has postponed this date from May 3 to May 7, 2023, due to rescheduling the state elections in the country.

The federal government of Nigeria disclosed that over N869 billion was needed to conduct the 2023 population and housing census. The Federal Executive Council has approved N2.8 billion for the National Population Commission (NPC) to procure some software for the census.

According to the United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA), Nigeria is set to be the fourth or fifth most populous country in the world, with a projected population of about 400 million by 2050. The current global population, according to the United Nations, is 8 billion, predicting a growth rate to hit 9.7 billion in 2050.

Why does Nigeria need an updated national census?

The importance of having accurate data cannot be overemphasised, as a nation cannot fully attain its national socio-economic development potential without giving the numbers a human face.

The President, Muhammadu Buhari, while speaking on the 2023 census, said having correct figures from the headcount will help the country plan for the citizens and purpose for development to reinforce the social security programme that targets more vulnerable Nigerians.

In addition to the aforementioned reasons, there have been arguments across social media platforms casting aspersions on the actual figures of Nigeria’s population. An updated population census will help dispel these doubts in more ways than one.

Nigeria 2023 census: All you need to know and why it matters
Nigeria 2023 census: All you need to know and why it matters
 Screenshots of tweets doubting current population figures.

What are the upsides of having a national and housing census?

There are several advantages to having correct and actual figures from a census, which help propel a nation on the path of prosperity. Some benefits include the following:

  1. Resource allocation

A census helps in the equitable distribution of resources to different states, local governments, and communities based on their population. It provides accurate information on the population size, age, gender, education level, and income, which the government can use to plan and allocate resources effectively.

  1. Proper planning and development 

Data gathered during the process can be used for planning and development purposes. The information collected from the census can help government agencies to plan for infrastructure development, such as roads, bridges, and public utilities.

  1. Electoral process 

This is majorly the elephant in the room when data gathering is brought to the front burner. It helps redraw electoral districts and allocate constituencies based on population size, ensuring that the government fairly represents all regions and communities fairly.

  1. Demographic scrutiny

Similarly, data from this process helps understand the population’s demographic characteristics. It provides information on the age distribution, gender balance, ethnic diversity, and migration patterns of the people, which can be used to make informed policy decisions.

  1. Monitoring and evaluation 

To track the implementation of projects, policies and programs, data helps in monitoring and evaluating timelines. It provides a baseline for measuring progress and identifying areas where additional resources and interventions are needed.


Nigeria will turn 63 in 2023, and more than ever, citizens clamour for robust national development. A national and housing census that seeks to update the nation’s national database would turn the tide towards the pathway of socio-economic prosperity. 

The researcher produced this explainer per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with Summitpost News to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for educating us on the importance of a National population census. This article is quite educating and beneficial. I advise that this article be given a wider publicity so that Nigerians will read and understand why they must participate in the forth coming census.

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