In this article, we shall be taking a look at the most populated States in Nigeria this 2023 according to United Nations estimates. Our country is the most populous black nation in the world with over 200 million people and with this figure, she sits comfortably at the top as the most populous country in Africa as well. With such high figures in terms of population, one might wonder which States rank highest as the most populated where people are concentrated. Some of the most densely populated States in the country are located in the South-West and the Northern parts of the country with the South-South and the South-East geopolitical zones featuring but not having much representation in the list.
It is being predicted that Nigeria will experience more and more population growth that by the year 2050, it will rank as the 3rd most populous country on earth. This is true considering how rapidly and significantly the population has grown over the past decade. In 2006, during the nationwide census, Kano State, with the slogan “Centre of Commerce” emerged as as the state with the highest number of people living within it. While another census was targeted for 2016, this never materialized as a result of the economic instability in the country by that time.
In recent times however, data from the United Nations have been able to show which states in Nigeria are ranked as the most populated and we have compiled them in the paragraphs that follow:
FULL LIST OF TOP 10 MOST POPULATED STATES IN NIGERIA 2023
Below are the top 10 States with the highest population in Nigeria this 2023:
LAGOS STATE (21 MILLION)
Lagos State, is presently the most populated state in Nigeria presently. It is also the smallest state by land area in the country. According to the 2006 Census, the population of Lagos State was 9,113,605. That figure rose in 2012, when the Lagos State Government declared the population of the state to be 17.5 million but according to data from a survey by the United Nations, Lagos State, currently has a population of 21 million people, and has become the most populous State in the country as well as in the entire West African subcontinent.
KANO STATE (16 MILLION)
Kano State is the second most populated state in Nigeria presently. In 2006, the State ranked as the most populated in the country with the population of Kano standing at 9,401,288. In 2011, it was estimated to have increased to a total number of 11,058,300 people. Presently, Kano State has a total of 16 million people making it the state with the highest population in the country only behind Lagos State.
OYO STATE (15 MILLION)
Oyo State is the third most populated state in Nigeria. According to the 2006 census in the country, the state had a total number of 5,580,894 people but the United Nations estimates in 2016 shows that figure to have tripled to 15 million people despite the State government penning their own figure to stand at 6.6 million people.
KADUNA STATE (12 MILLION)
Kaduna State is the fourth most populated state in Nigeria. The state is also one of the largest states by land area in the country and it takes its name from the river Kaduna which is one of the longest rivers in Nigeria as well as one of the major rivers in the country. In 2006, the population of Kaduna State stood at 6,113,503 but recent figures from the United Nations estimates Kaduna State to have a population of 12 million. Kaduna houses many ethnic groups with Hausa being one of the most widely spoken languages there.
RIVERS STATE (11 MILLION)
Rivers State is currently the fifth most populated state in Nigeria and as of 2006, it had a population of 5,198,716. Over the years, that population has increased significantly and United Nations estimates put Rivers as having a total population of 11 million. The Capital of Rivers State is Port Harcourt, one of the major cities in Nigeria. Rivers State is located in the Niger-Delta region, in the South-South geopolitical zone in the country and it is an oil producing state in Nigeria.
KATSINA STATE (10 MILLION)
Katsina State is the sixth most populated state in Nigeria presently. The State according to the 2006 census had a population of 5,801,584. That figure has doubled as in recent times, the population of Katsina State stands at 10 million people. The State is located in the North-Western part of the country and notable Nigerians who hail from there include the Late President, Umaru Musa Yar’adua and the current President, Muhammadu Buhari.
BAUCHI STATE (9 MILLION)
Bauchi State is the seventh most populated state in Nigeria. As of 2006, the state had a total of 4,676,465 people but that figure has risen significantly in recent times to stand at 9 million. Its capital city is also known as Bauchi. Notable tertiary institutions of learning in the state include the Bauchi State University, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic and the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi.
ANAMBRA STATE (8.3 MILLION)
Anambra State is the eighth most populated state in Nigeria presently. It is located in the south-eastern part of the country and its largest city is Onitsha, an internationally recognized commercial city. Nnewi, another well known city in Anambra State is home to some of Nigeria’s billionaires of Igbo origin. As at 2006, Anambra had a population of 4,177,828 people but more recent figures estimate their population to stand at 8.3 million, making Anambra State the most populated state in all of Igboland.
JIGAWA STATE (8 MILLION)
Jigawa State is currently the ninth most populous state in Nigeria. According to the 2006 census in the country, Jigawa had a population of 4,361,002 people but recent estimates put that figure at 8 million. The capital of Jigawa State is Dutse and most of its vegetation is made up of the Sudan savanna.
BENUE STATE (8 MILLION)
Benue State is the tenth most populated state in Nigeria presently. The state shares boundaries with Nasarawa State, Taraba, Cross River, Enugu, Kogi States respectively, as well as the Republic of Cameroon. According to the 2006 census figures posted by the National Population Commission, Benue State had a population of 4,253,641 people but it currently has double of that as its population stands at 8 million in total. The capital of Benue State is Makurdi and it is mostly inhabited by the Tiv, Idoma and Igede people.