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The study is of utmost importance as it addresses a strategic aspect of the economy and also considering the fact that the country has been experiencing a slow growth rate and a severe decline in development. A regression model is used to describe the statistical relationship between population growth and unemployment. It is hypothesized that population growth has a strong impact on unemployment in Nigeria. It is assumed that a positive relationship exists between population growth and unemployment. A highly significant result was obtained after a simple regression was carried out which shows that population plays a role in the rise of unemployment in Nigeria which implies that a rise in population growth leads to a rise in unemployment. Many reasons have been attributed as to why population growth is on the rise and how it proportionately affects unemployment. The major reasons for a rise in population include increase in birth rate, socio-cultural beliefs and improvement in welfare and medical facilities. Although the positive effects of population cannot be overlooked, it is also important to note that its negative effects highly outweigh its positives.



1.1      Background of 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).

Unemployment rate can either increase or decrease proportionately with respect to population growth or decline. Invariably, the increase in unemployment rate could be related to population growth especially in developing economies like Nigeria. Therefore, the need to checkmating unemployment rate to assuage its effects on Nigerian economy cannot be overemphasized. The Central Bank of Nigeria (cited in Orumie, 2016) defined unemployment rate as the percentage of persons among the labour force (15-65 years) excluding students and those medically unfit available for work but do not find work. Gbosi (2005) noted that the Nigeria’s rising rate of unemployment portends great concern not only to the policy-makers, but the society as well, and that the rate at which population grows influences economic growth and consequently the Gross Domestic Product.

The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is unimaginably growing amidst alarming economic recession while population growth is on the increase. If not checked, this duo tyrant can pose devastating effects on the nation’s future economy.

Therefore this study seeks to investigate the impact of population growth on unemployment in Nigeria.


Rapid population growth in Nigeria is equally associated with unemployment with figures ranging from 17 percent per annum for the entire population to 60 percent for the youths because job opportunities are fewer than the number seeking for them, and stagnating economic performance because a large proportion of available resources is consumed instead of being invested to generate growth. In addition, rapid population growth poses continuous pressure on resource, particularly on agricultural land. For instance, due to high density of people in the Eastern states as much as 53 percent of the farming populations cultivate less than 0.4 hectares in a given year and in the more congested areas of those states most farmers cultivates only 0.2 hectares per year. Furthermore, with rising population growing at geometric proportion relative to job placement that is growing at arithmetic progression, it became obvious that the nation’s formal education is fuelling unemployment, crime and cycle of poverty as graduates could not be absorbed. The problem of unemployment is a problem that has been evident in Nigeria. In Nigeria, streets are scattered with bike riders and hawkers with an average level of education who would have secured employment or exhibit their skills and resources if there are suitable environments and structures that encourage such. This situation has moved the attention of unemployed youths to cybercrime which is commonly known as 419 (Uddin and Uddin, 2013).

Hence, the undertaking of this study seeks to investigate the impact of population growth on unemployment in Nigeria.


The aim of the study is to investigate the impact of population growth on unemployment in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:

 i. To examine the impact of population growth rate on unemployment in Nigeria.

 ii. To investigate the causal relationship between population growth and economic development in Nigeria.

 iii To find out the current economic challenges for managing population growth in Nigeria


The researcher intends to test the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1:

Ho:  There is no significant relationship between population growth rate and unemployment in Nigeria.

HI: There is a significant relationship between population growth rate and unemployment in Nigeria.

Hypothesis 2:

Ho:      There is no significant causal relationship between population growth and economic growth in Nigeria.

HI:      There is a significant causal relationship between population growth and economic growth in Nigeria.


This study will be significant to students and the general public. This study will give a clear insight on impact of population growth on unemployment in Nigeria. The study will serve as a reference to other researchers that will embark on this topic


The scope of the study covers the impact of population growth on unemployment in Nigeria. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

 a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study   

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.


POPULATION GROWTH: In biology or human geography, population growth is the increase in the number of individuals in a population

UNEMPLOYMENT: Unemployment or joblessness is the situation of actively looking for employment, but not being currently employed. The unemployment rate is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labor force.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study  

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