Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nigerian census results, still waiting

Originally the first census results of the most populous country in Africa: Nigeria should have been released by now. Unfortunately in a country where ethic and religious issues are always close to the surface anything, even statistics, can become political. So it´s understandable the authorities are taking their time for the correct figures. Even more if you remember the last census in Nigeria was about 15 years ago and had an undercount by about 20 million people.

While there have been a few issues with censustaking itself, I do not think they will affect the endresults. At least not in a major way, in a census the respons rate is very high and there are a number of statistical techniques you can always use to get good estimates even if the local data is not perfect. Plus this time, sensitive issues like religion were ignored. However, some locals might still see things otherwise.

The results could be interesting, but for now we´ll simply have to wait...

NIGERIA. Oct 2006. Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is due to release the results of a census conducted in Mar 2006, but will probably postpone any announcements until after the 2007 general election. Censuses are controversial in Nigeria because rival ethnic and religious groups have tried to use them to assert their numerical superiority and claim a larger share of oil revenues and political representation. Splits between Nigerian Muslims and Christians and among the country's 250-300 ethnic groups are so incendiary that census officials decided to not ask citizens this year about their religious affiliation or ethnicity.
The country hasn't conducted a census since 1991. Most estimates put the population anywhere between 120-million and 150-million.


Anonymous said...

"the last census ... had an undercount by about 20 million people"

This seems stretching the case somewhat. To the best of my knowledge, there was no proper estimate of omissions as that would have opened yet another can of worms!

Now it's true that the result was 20m or so lower than most current estimates, but since they were influenced by the dubious 1963 returns I wouldn't consider them an adequate guide to undercount.

It's probably fair to say that '91 was designed to undercount - perhaps a necessary evil after the fiasco of 1973. But I think we'll find the omissions far fewer than 20m.

Anonymous said...

The census result announced posed some challenges in demographic analysis. Firstly, the growth rate of 3.2% reported is too high and can only be compared to that of Asian countries 2 decades ago. The sex ratio at birth estimated at 105 is another issue. State analysis of the census figure is not analytically consistent with the 1991 figures. So, I don't want to propose the political strength in census analysis!!

Edward Hugh said...

"The census result announced posed some challenges in demographic analysis."

Ok thnks for this AK. I was aware that the growth rate implied is enormous. Possibly part of this is, as you suggest due to a substantial underestimate in the 1991 census. Check out Thomas's earlier post on this linked to in my post.

I agree the sex ratio is another question. I have avoided this here, since I wanted to focus on the economic implications of these numbers. We do have material onsite on this topic generally.

Obviously excess males mean excess tostesterone, which is another reason why the violent disintegration scenario looks to be more than just a passing worry.ulncvapy

Edward Hugh said...


whoops, I now see that this is the Thomas post. Check out my latest post from end December 2006, and especially the comments thread.