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Will Nigeria’s unemployed population rank 9th most populous country in Africa?




A POST on Twitter claimed that Nigeria’s unemployed population can make up a country that will rank the 9th most populous country in Africa.

The claim was made by a Twitter user @Chxta on August 20.

He asserted further that Nigeria will still be the most populated country even if the employed people are moved out of the country to create another country.

The tweet reads: “If we take unemployed people in #Nigeria to create their own country, it would be number 9 in #Africa, and the rest of Nigeria would still be the most populated on the continent.”


From the tweet, these two claims were established:

Claim 1: That Nigeria’s unemployed population would rank number 9 most populous country in Africa.

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Claim 2: That Nigeria would still remain the most populous country when the unemployed population is excluded.


Claim 1:

In a bid to verify the claim, The FactCheckHub first checked the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) website for the data on Nigeria’s labour statistics to determine the total number of unemployed people in the country.

According to the latest statistics on Nigeria’s labour force released by the NBS for the 2nd quarter (Q2) of 2020, Nigeria currently has 21,764,617 unemployed people.

A screenshot from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Labor Force Statistics 2020 Q3.

The NBS categorised the unemployed people under two types; the unemployed people working between 1-19 hours and those doing practically nothing.  Those working between 1-19 hours made up 12,395,364 of the unemployed population while those doing nothing are 9,369,253.

The FactCheckHub checked the top ten most populous countries in Africa to determine if the number of unemployed people in Nigeria – 21.8 million –  can make the 9th most populous country in the continent.

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The FactCheckHub checked the Worldometer – a reference website that provides counters and real-time statistics and the World Bank for data on African countries and their population.

The World Bank data as at 2019 for the ten most populated countries in Africa are Nigeria — 200,963,599, Ethiopia — 112,078,730, Egypt — 100,388,073, Dr. Congo — 86,790,567, South Africa — 58,558,270, Tanzania — 58,005,463, Kenya — 52,573,973, Uganda —44,269,594, Algeria — 43,053,054, and Sudan — 42,813,238.

World Bank data showing 10 most populous African countries.

As of August 25, 2020,  Worldometer data on the population of African countries had a higher figure for each country and with each one maintaining its position except for South Africa and Tanzania that swapped position.

From the data, Nigeria ranked the most populous country in the continent with 206,139,589 people, followed by Ethiopia that has 114,963,588 population,  Egypt is the third most populous country in Africa with 102,334,404 population,  DR Congo 4th with 89,561,403 other most populous countries in the continent are; Tanzania, 5th with 59,734,218 population, South Africa 6th with 59,308,690, Kenya 7th with 53,771,296, Uganda 8th with 45,741,007, Algeria 9th with 43,851,044 and Sudan 10th with 43,849,260.

A screenshot of African countries population from Worldometer

From the data gotten from the World Bank and Worldometer, the 9th most populous African country is Algeria with  43,053,054 and 43,851,044 in 2019 and 2020 respectively.  This, therefore, means that the number of unemployed people in Nigeria which stands at 21,764,617,  when made into a country would not be the 9th most populous country in Africa, which makes the claim to be FALSE.

Claim 2:

In a bid to check if Nigeria would still remain the most populous country if the number of employed people in the country is removed, The FactCheckHub checked the number of  Nigeria’s current population, which is 206,139,589 according to 2020 Worldometer ranking and 200,963,599 according to the 2019 World Bank ranking.

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The FactCheckhub then deducted the number of Nigeria’s current unemployed population, which according to the latest statistics on Nigeria’s labour stands at 21,764,617 and the difference is  184,374,972 and 179,198,982 respectively. This is still more than the total number of the second-most populous country in Africa.

According to Worldometer and World Bank rankings, Ethiopia is the 2nd most populous country in Africa with 114,963,588 and 112,078,730 populations respectively. If compared with Nigeria’s population excluding the number of unemployed people, Nigeria’s population would still be the most populous country in Africa.


From the information presented above, the claim that Nigeria’s unemployed population would rank number 9 most populous country in Africa is FALSE.

The claim that Nigeria would still remain the most populous country when the unemployed population is excluded is TRUE.               

Author profile

'Niyi works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via noyedeji@icirnigeria.org. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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