YES! Nigeria Has More Poor People Than India and China combined

CLAIM: Nigeria has more extremely poor people than India and China combined, says Peter Obi.

TRUE: Data from the World Poverty Clock shows that Nigeria’s estimate of extremely poor people is 94.4 million. This is clearly larger than India and China’s combined estimate of 39.8 million people.

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Last week Tuesday did not just mark Nigeria’s 59th birthday but was also a day for bold claims. One of which was made by Peter Obi. According to him, Nigeria has more people living in extreme poverty than India and China combined. Peter Obi’s comment has sparked debate both on traditional and social media platforms in Nigeria. The claim was made at 4:24 minutes into the presentation.

“… In 2012, India had 276 million people living in extreme poverty. Today, they have less than 76 million. Nigeria has more people living in extreme poverty than China and India combined.”

Peter Obi- The Platform Nigeria.

The Platform Nigeria is an annual event organised by the Covenant Christian Center in Lagos. Its objective is to facilitate growth in the areas of personal capacity, productivity and national development within Nigeria.


The World Bank defined the new international poverty line as $1.90 a day in 2015. This was an increment from $1.25 a day previously used in 2008; thus indicating any individual who lives below $1.90 or less per day is poor. The same benchmark was regarded as the internationally agreed poverty line by the United Nations.

On this blog, although the Bank referred to it as “extreme poverty”, it still used the same threshold for its definition.

On June 19, 2018, a report by the Brookings Institution projected that Nigeria overtook India as the country with the largest number of extremely poor people with an estimated 87 million Nigerians living in extreme poverty at the end of May 2018. The institution also noted that poverty in Nigeria was growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continued to fall.


In order to ascertain the veracity of this claim, we relied on the data obtained from the World Poverty Clock– a project of the World Data Lab. It provides real-time poverty estimates for almost every country of the world- to monitor progress towards ending extreme poverty by 2030.

According to the available data, Nigeria currently has a total number of 94.4 million people living in extreme poverty. This represents 44.7 percent of its 198 million population; making it the country with the highest population of extremely poor people in the world.

According to the data, both India and China have a population of 1.37 billion people each. While 2.7 percent of India’s population, translating to 37 million people are extremely poor; only 0.20 percent of China’s population (2.74 million people) are living in extreme poverty. 

This brings the total population of people who could not afford $1.90 in the two Asian countries to 39.8 million people; less than Nigeria’s 94.4 million people!


Peter Obi’s claim is TRUE! Available data from the World Poverty Clock shows that Nigeria has over 94.4 million people living in extreme poverty. This is clearly lower than the extreme poverty estimates in India and China combined; which accounts for over 39 million people. 

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