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Nigeria’s Population Hits 182 Million

Nigeria’s population reached 182 million this year with more than half its people under 30 years of age, putting a severe strain on a nation suffering from a slowing economy and declining revenue to provide enough schools and health facilities.

The latest estimate is based on the population of 140 million recorded in the last census a decade ago, using an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent weighed against other variables such as rising life expectancy and a declining infant mortality rate, Ghaji Bello, director general of the National Population Commission, said in an interview Monday in the capital, Abuja.

Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country, is witnessing a growing youth bulge, with those under 14 years accounting for more than 40 percent of its citizens, he said. This is happening at a time when the International Monetary Fund has forecast the West African nation’s gross domestic product will shrink 1.7 percent this year, the first full-year contraction in more than two decades.

Nigeria’s population, currently the world’s seventh largest, is the fastest-growing among the 10 most populous countries globally and is projected to exceed the U.S. to become the third-largest with more than 300 million people by 2050, according to the United Nations.

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