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1.1      Background of the study

Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and the 8th in the world with an estimated figure of about 170 million people based on the facts released by the National Population Commission (NPC, 2012). In addition to this, the nation boasts of being the largest economy in Africa as the GDP figure for 2013 and 2014 stood at N13, 526.25 and N14, 475.38 billion respectively (Economic Watch, 2015).  Despite these magnificent feats, the country is still faced with several developmental, economic and political challenges such as unemployment, poverty, corruption, income inequality, population explosion and political instability. Nigeria has a growing population, which can equally be referred to as increasing population. The census conducted in Nigeria in 1991 put Nigeria’s population at 88.9 million people with growth rate of about 3% and the total fertility rate as disclosed by the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) at about 6%. From the statistics obtained at the 2006 Nigerian population census, Nigeria’s population stood at 140,003, 542 (NBS, 2009).  The growth rate then was less than 3% and the population has the tendency of doubling itself in less than 23 years (Odusina 2013). The United Nations estimated Nigeria’s population to be around 150,003, 400 and further corroborated that Nigeria’s population is the largest in Africa and ranked 7th among the populous countries globally (United Nations, 2009). The population of Nigeria is rising rapidly. A rapid rise in population can be attributed to three main factors which are birth rate, death rate and migration (Yesefu, 2002). In the Nigeria population experience, migration has not contributed to rapid population, because most of Nigeria’s technocrats, experts and professionals immigrate to other countries for an improved means of livelihood (Odusina, 2013). If a rising population is brought about as a result of increase in birth rate, there will be larger proportion of children and young people in the population. On the other hand, if rapid population is a result of decrease in death rate, the adults and older people will constitute a larger percentage of the total population. Furthermore, if a rising population is due to high net migration, the population will constitute a large proportion of the economically active people, between the ages of 15 and 60 years. According to National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS, 2003), crude birth rate in 1990, 1991 and 2003 stood at 39.0, 44.6 and 42.0. This evidences that Nigeria’s rapid population is primarily as a result of high birth rate. The population of Nigeria has gathered momentum over time. Population will continually increase event if there is usage and practice of contraceptives, family planning system and birth control. Increasing population is a burden to the government especially in less developed countries, which is considered injurious to the citizenry living standard and the socioeconomic development of the country. Unemployment occurs as a result of the insufficiency of jobs to commensurate with the growing population, even those who are employed live with the fear of being rendered unemployed due to job insecurity, economic recession and retrenchment of workers. (Akiri etal. 2016). The term ‘unemployment’ can be applied to any factor of production that is idle and under-utilized. With precise application to labour, unemployment occurs when active and able-bodied men are actively seeking jobs but unable to find one. Underemployment is a variant of unemployment which arises when labour is working below full capacity or not fully utilized in production. Unemployment has been a hindering factor to the attainment of sustainable development. In Nigeria, unemployment is more prevalent among the youths. Every year, tertiary institutions turn out thousands of graduates in large mass with no absorptive capacity in the labor market. Moreover, young people are more likely to be employed in jobs of low quality, poor working conditions, poor remuneration and engagement in dangerous works or receive a short term informal employment arrangements. Unemployment has been regarded as global economic problem and has been tagged as a barricade to social and economic advancement especially in developing nations, Nigeria inclusive. Unemployment tantamount to huge wastage of a country’s human resources, generates welfare loss in terms of social output, leads to low income and increases the cost of living (Umo, 1999). The inadequate employment situation of youths has resulted into a number of socio-economic, moral and political vices such as armed robbery, huggers, vandalisation of government assets, corruption, prostitution, rural-urban migration, high dependency ratio, frustration, corruption, depression, wastage and underutilization of human resource. The prevalence of unemployment has birthed the presence of poverty in the nation. Successive government has employed several strategies to curb both challenges, but the results achieved so far have not been remarkable.


Nigeria is bedeviled with a dual-problem of high population and high unemployment. The jobs available in the labour market are not commensurate with the teeming number of unemployed persons. Rapid population growth is inimical to the economic and social development of a country. There will be little time or no time to adjust the economy to development efforts. Increasing population has the tendency of eroding the benefits of economic development and producing disastrous effects on living conditions of the citizenry if not properly checked. Nigeria population requires urgent attention, regulation and control due to its excessive growth rate. Nigeria need to learn from the Chinese population experience, when the latter country encountered many challenges linked to population growth. A large number of people lived in poverty; they were unable to deal with the aftermath of flood and drought. This occurred because the Chinese government never made any strategic plan to avert the ugly incident (Clunas, etal., 2008).The population situation of Nigeria and issues related to it needs to be discussed to expose many population-related factors to the consciousness of the people. For instance, Nigeria is suffering from high rates of poverty and unemployment. Moreover, there is mass migration of people from rural areas to urban areas, thereby creating social vices. This is because the available industries are unable to employ all the participants in the labor market. For Nigeria to overcome these developmental challenges, effective policies need to be formulated to raise domestic production of food, create jobs; reduce absolute poverty, lower population growth amongst many other things.


The overall objective that will guide the study is as follows:

1.   To determine the relationship between unemployment and Economic growth in Nigeria.

2.    To ascertain the rate of population growth that affect unemployment

3.   To check whether population growth has any impact on unemployment in Nigeria.

4.   To proffer appropriate solution / recommendation to authority in
Charge of managing the economy on how to remedy the situation population growth.


For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher; 

H0: Population growth has no significant impact on unemployment in Nigeria.

H1: Population growth has significant impact on unemployment in Nigeria.

H02: there is no relationship between unemployment and Economic growth in Nigeria.

H2: there is relationship between unemployment and Economic growth in Nigeria


This study deals with the population and the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. The economy of the Nigeria is characterized by high population growth. They are facing great challenge in generating adequate job opportunities for their teeming population. Nigeria population is ever increases with limited number of job opportunities. Reviewing the socio-economic organization, monitoring rural-urban migration, promoting agriculture and entrepreneurship programs, investment in human capital and encouraging Public Private Partnership are some of the recommendations made to avoid a “worst-case scenario” of the above problem and to realize the nation’s vision as being one of the leading economies by the year 2020 


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.

c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.


Population: The total number of persons inhabiting a country, city, or any district or area.
Population Growth: Is the increase in the number of individuals in a population.         
The number or proportion of unemployed people.


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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