BusinessDay

Nigeria to overtake China as second-most populous country

Nigeria is projected to overtake China as the second-most populous country in the world, a report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) revealed.

The report also showed that the number of people on earth may start to shrink well before the year 2100, contrary to the 2019 UN report projecting the world population to steadily rise over the years.

IHME said in the World Population Peak report 2020, that the largest increases in population between 2020 and 2100 will take place in India, Nigeria, US, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Tanzania.

Nigeria is currently the world’s seventh-largest country, with a population of 206 million. It has the fastest-growing population of the 10 most populous countries in the world. The report projects that the country will surpass the United States shortly before mid-century.

Read also: Nigeria’s population growth rate: How sustainable is it?

The main drivers of Nigeria’s population referred to in the report as an “economic powerhouse” include early marriages, high birth rates, and a lack of family planning access.

A statistics from the World Bank’s 2019 Nigeria Economic Update states about 50 percent of Nigerian workers have only a primary education or less, 30 per cent never attended school, just 20 percent of Nigerian adults aged 18 to 37 years who completed primary school can read, among workers aged 15 to 24, only 59 percent of women are literate compared to men, less than half completed secondary school, only 51 percent of Nigeria’s estimated labour force of 90 million are literate.

China has a more highly skilled and productive labour force compared to Nigeria with poor investment on its human capital. With low-skilled and unproductive human capital, the West African country’s economic growth is about static.

According to the UN, the world population is set to steadily rise over the years to 8.5 billion, 9.7 billion and 10.9 billion in 2030, 2050 and 2100 respectively. With the increasing population and slowly declining national output, Nigeria is currently the poverty capital of the world.

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