Nigeria’s population is dominated by young people, majority of whom are younger than 20 years of age. A report on Nigeria Living Standards Survey (NLSS) revealed that out of the total male population in Nigeria, not lesser than 54 per cent of them are below 20 years; whereas, not lesser than 51 per cent of the female population is dominated by the same age.
In Nigeria and across all the states but Enugu, there are more females than male in the total population estimate from the sampled enumeration areas. Females accounted for 50.8 per cent of the total population, while males, the remaining 49.2 per cent. The ratio of males to female in Enugu State is 0.82, that is, 55 per cent more males than females (45 per cent).
The average household size in Nigeria is 5.06 persons per family. This means that there are about 5 persons in every family. The household size is larger in rural areas than urban areas: while there are about 5.42 persons in a single family in the rural areas, there are 4.50 persons in the urban settlements.
Jigawa State with 8.15 persons recorded the highest number of persons per household, while the lowest is in Ekiti state where on average the household is composed of 3.50 family members.
To understand the relative economic burden of the workforce, the total dependency (youth) ratio per working-age person in Nigeria was analysed and estimated at 0.97. This means that for every 100 working-age individuals, about 97 persons are dependents.
Across the states, Jigawa has the highest dependency ratio of 1.40 (140 persons dependent on every 100 working-age individuals), while the lowest is in Lagos with 0.63 of dependents per 1 working age person.
Even though by marital status or obligation, males are expected to head their homes, statistics shows that the responsibility has been shifting to the females. About 18.8 per cent of the total households in Nigeria are headed by females. This is a reflection of closing the gender gap in Nigeria.
This figure is higher (21.4 per cent) in the urban areas than the rural areas (17.1 per cent), as more and more females are taking up managerial and executive positions in organisations and even in politics among others.
On a state level, the lowest share of female headed households in Nigeria is in Niger state at 1.9 per cent, whereas it is highest in Ebonyi State which recorded 36 per cent.
The share of females, among those older than 12 years of age, in a monogamous marriage is 41.9 per cent. This is higher when compared to males (36.7 per cent) of the same age range in a monogamous marriage. Unlike the ratio of males and females in monogamous marriages, the share of males and females in polygamous marriages is roughly equal at about 9.9 to 9.6 per cent respectively.
Polygamous marriages are more prevalent in Jigawa state where 15.1 per cent of males and 32.8 per cent of females were reported to be in a polygamous marriage. On the contrary, data from Akwa-Ibom showed that the state has the lowest rate of polygamous marriages with less than a per cent of males and females alike getting into polygamous marriages.
Average household size, dependency ratio and share of female headed households
The population distribution by age-group and sex across the country showed that more males than females at 44 per cent of all males and 41.2 per cent of all females respectively in the country are less than 15 years of age; hence, should not get employed for personal income. Similarly, 5.1 and 5.0 per cent of all males and females respectively are considered to be of normal retirement age and are not necessarily expected to be part of the workforce—they are more than 64 years of age.
This implies that the total number of dependent males represents 49.1 per cent of the male population in Nigeria, while dependent females represents 46.2 per cent of the total female population.
Of the total male and female population in Nigeria, 50.9 per cent and 53.8 per cent respectively is or is expected to be part of the workforce, as they are not less than 15 years and not more than 64 years of age.
The population distribution by age-group and sex across settlements (urban and rural) in Nigeria showed that there are generally more females than males: 50.7 per cent and 49.3 per cent respectively in urban settlements, while there are 50.8 per cent and 49.2 per cent respectively in the rural settlements.
Of the total 49.3 per cent male constituents in urban settlements, 27.4 per cent are in the average working-age population, while of the females, 29.1 per cent are in the average working-age population.
From the same proportion in the rural settlements, 23.9 per cent males and 26.3 per cent females make up the total workforce in Nigeria, as they are between the ages of 15 and 64 years.
Findings from the marital status by gender above 12 years of age showed that 49.9 per cent and 34.1 per cent of males and females respectively were never married; 36.7 and 41.9 per cent respectively are married (monogamous); 9.9 and 9.6 per cent respectively are in a polygamous marriage; 0.7 and 1.0 per cent respectively are in informal union; 1.4 and 2.6 per cent respectively are divorced/separated while 1.3 and 10 per cent respectively are widowed.
Comparing the same for urban settlements (that is, males and females in percentages), 50.7 and 38.6 were never married; 39.3 and 42.0 are married in monogamous; 6.6 and 5.3 are in polygamous marriage; 0.4 and 0.6 are in informal union; 1.5 and 3.3 are separated while 1.5 and 10.2 are widowed.
Similarly, in rural settlements, 49.4 and 31.5 are unmarried; 35.2 and 41.9 are in monogamous marriage, 11.9 and 12.2 are in polygamous marriage; 0.8 and 1.3 are in informal union; 1.3 and 2.2 are separated; while 1.2 and 10.9 are widowed.