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Census-taking in Nigeria: The good, the technical, and the politics of numbers


Academic year: 2022

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Akinyinka Akinyoade


, Eugenia Appiah


, Sola Asa


1African Studies Centre Leiden, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden 2333AK.

The Netherlands


2Research Department, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice,

Accra, Ghana euappiah@gmail.com

3Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Obafemi Awolwo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria



0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160

1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007


Population (millions)


Table 1: Summary of results of Nigeria’s population censuses 1789-2006

No. Governance context Year Result

1 Pre-colonial (Lagos) 1789 5.000

2 Pre-colonial (Lagos) 1815 11.000

3 Pre-colonial (Lagos) 1855 20.000

4 Pre-colonial (Lagos) 1861 30.000

5 Colonial (Lagos) 1871 29.000

6 Colonial (Lagos) 1881 37.000

7 Colonial (Lagos) 1891 33.000

8 Colonial (Lagos) 1901 42.000

9 Colonial (Southern & Northern Nigeria) 1911 16.060.000

10 Colonial (Southern & Northern Protectorates) 1921 18.720.000 11 Colonial (Southern & Northern Protectorates) 1931 20.060.000 12 Colonial (Southern & Northern Protectorates) 1950-53 30.420.000

13 Nigeria (independent) 1962-63 55.660.000

14 Nigeria (independent) 1973 79.800.000

15 Nigeria (independent) 1991 88.500.000

16 Nigeria (independent) 2006 140.003.542



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