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2050: Nigerian Population Larger Than USA, and Africa 25% of World

Pew Global Attitudes Projects, a Washington D.C. based think tank reported that by 2050 India is projected to have the largest population in the world, followed by China (whose growth is slowing), but in third replacing the US, Nigeria as the third most populous nation.  India’s population may be that of China and the US combined in 2050.  Conversely, Japan and Korea’s median age in 2050 is projected to reach 53, from the current 45 and 38 respectively (such that Korea’s median age is projected to rise very quickly).

Currently, Nigeria is the seventh largest population in the world, but is projected to grow by 176 percent.  Conversely, the world’s aging populations’ median age is also projected to increase.  Africa currently makes up 15 percent of the world’s population, by 2050 to be 25 percent.  1 in 5 Africans currently are Nigerian.

Nigeria is projected to replace South Africa as Africa’s biggest economy.  Nigeria is currently already Africa’s top oil-producer.  Currently, Nigeria’s GDP is $263 billion versus South Africa’s $384 billion.  However, over the past decade, Nigeria’s growth has been expanding by 7% versus South Africa’s at 3% (granted, Nigeria has three times the population).

However, what are the implications for the average Nigerian?  Currently 100 million are living below the extreme poverty line of under a dollar a day.  (The Nigeria/South Africa  comparison similar to the China/US one, fast economic growth, but many more people to provide for.  Of course the level of organization of the governments and industry in China and Nigeria differ vastly.) Nigeria’s economy is also based singularly off of oil which makes up 80% of the Nigerian government’s revenue.  Investors may still prefer South Africa’s more diversified and developed economy.  South African financial markets are ranked among the world’s most advanced.  (“The JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) has a total market capitalisation of $903bn, compared with the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s total market capitalisation of $81bn” (Business Day Live))

Fun Website for country geographic size comparisons:






  1. gjeong gjeong

    One of the problems that China, Japan, and Korea have is population aging. This is why China changed its one child policy (other countries try to promote more children but it is not easy). While I believe that there is a relationship between population and economy, I am not sure how it is related to the situation in Nigeria. Does it mean more labor force for foreign investment in Nigeria?

  2. I didn’t spot the current estimated population size (or its projected level) in the post. What is happening to fertility rates? The post focuses on implications, but more data would help. This is however a good topic and with the Solow model we have some of the tools needed to start exploring such issues.

    • maxstadts14 maxstadts14

      I tackle the numbers/data in a new blog post (don’t know how to hyperlink..), my comment got too long

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