Economists overtime have attributed population explosion as one of the chief causes of unemployment in developing economies. This study is designed to investigate on the impact of unemployment on the Economic growth in Nigeria for the period of 30 years (1985-2015). This is done in other to find out its influence on the persisted occurrence of unemployment among the Nigeria youths and stagnates the growth of the economy. It focuses on those objectives.1)To examine the effect  of population growth nd unemployment in Nigeria 2)To ascertain if there is long-run equilibrium relationship between population growth and unemployment. The results revealed that population growth rate; per capita income and unemployment rate except total population became stationary at the first-order difference. It was also found that a long-run equilibrium relationship existed between population growth and unemployment. Furthermore, the regression result showed that population growth rate, total population and per capita income significantly and positively contributed to unemployment situation in Nigeria within the period estimated. The study later proffered various policies options which the government can implement to address the issue of unemployment, curb high population growth rate and achieve higher living standards for its populace.








1.1 Background To The Study

Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and the 8th in the world with an estimated figure of about 170 million people based on the facts released by the National Population Commission (NPC, 2012). In addition to this, the nation boasts of being the largest economy in Africa as the GDP figure for 2013 and 2014 stood at N13, 526.25 and N14, 475.38 billion respectively (Economic Watch, 2015). Despite these magnificent feats, the country is still faced with several developmental, economic and political challenges such as unemployment, poverty, corruption, income inequality, population explosion and political instability.

Nigeria has a growing population, which can equally be referred to as increasing population. The census conducted in Nigeria in 1991 put Nigeria’s population at 88.9 million people with growth rate of about 3% and the total fertility rate as disclosed by the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) at about 6%. From the statistics obtained at the 2006 Nigerian population census, Nigeria’s population stood at 140,003, 542 (NBS, 2009). The growth rate then was less than 3% and the population has the tendency of doubling itself in less than 23 years (Odusina 2013). The United Nations estimated Nigeria’s population to be around 150,003, 400 and further corroborated that Nigeria’s population is the largest in Africa and ranked 7th among the populous countries globally (United Nations, 2009).

The population of Nigeria is rising rapidly. A rapid rise in population can be attributed to three main factors which are birth rate, death rate and migration (Yesefu, 2002). In the Nigeria population experience, migration has not contributed to rapid population, because most of Nigeria’s technocrats, experts and professionals immigrate to other countries for an improved means of livelihood (Odusina, 2013). If a rising population is brought about as a result of increase in birth rate, there will be larger proportion of children and young people in the population. On the other hand, if rapid population is a result of decrease in death rate, the adults and older people will constitute a larger percentage of the total population. The population of Nigeria has gathered momentum over time. Population will continually increase event if there is usage and practice of contraceptives, family planning system and birth control. Increasing population is a burden to the government especially in less developed countries, which is considered injurious to the citizenry living standard and the socioeconomic development of the country.

Unemployment occurs as a result of the insufficiency of jobs to commensurate with the growing population, even those who are employed live with the fear of being rendered unemployed due to job insecurity, economic recession and retrenchment of workers. (Akiri et al. 2016). The term ‘unemployment’ can be applied to any factor of production that is idle and under-utilized. With precise application to labour, unemployment occurs when active and able-bodied men are actively seeking jobs but unable to find one. Underemployment is a variant of unemployment which arises when labour is working below full capacity or not fully utilized in production.

The inadequate employment situation of youths has resulted into a number of socio-economic, moral and political vices such as armed robbery, thuggery, vandalisation of government assets, corruption, prostitution, rural-urban migration, high dependency ratio, frustration, corruption, depression, wastage and underutilization of human resource. The prevalence of unemployment has birthed the presence of poverty in the nation. Successive government has employed several strategies to curb both challenges, but the results achieved so far have not been remarkable.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Nigeria is bedevilled with a dual-problem of high population and high unemployment. The jobs available in the labour market are not commensurate with the teeming number of unemployed persons. Rapid population growth is inimical to the economic and social development of a country. There will be little time or no time to adjust the economy to development efforts. Increasing population has the tendency of eroding the benefits of economic development and producing disastrous effects on living conditions of the citizenry if not properly checked.

Nigeria population requires urgent attention, regulation and control due to its excessive growth rate. Nigeria need to learn from the Chinese population experience, when the latter country encountered many challenges linked to population growth. A large number of people lived in poverty; they were unable to deal with the aftermath of flood and drought. This occurred because the Chinese government never made any strategic plan to avert the ugly incident (Clunas, etal., 2008).

The population situation of Nigeria and issues related to it needs to be discussed to expose many population-related factors to the consciousness of the people. For instance, Nigeria is suffering from high rates of poverty and unemployment. Moreover, there is mass migration of people from rural areas to urban areas, thereby creating social vices. This is because the available industries are unable to employ all the participants in the labour market. For Nigeria to overcome these developmental challenges, effective policies need to be formulated to raise domestic production of food, create jobs; reduce absolute poverty, lower population growth amongst many other things.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the impact of population growth and unemployment in Nigeria.
  2. To ascertain if there is long-run equilibrium relationship between population growth and unemployment in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The study is targeted to providing satisfactory answers to the following research questions:

  1. What is the impact of population growth and unemployment in Nigeria?
  2. Is there long-run equilibrium relationship between population growth and unemployment in Nigeria?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

A hypothesis is a supposed or proposed statement made on the premise of limited evidence, which serves as a starting point for further investigation. In accordance with the objectives of the study, the hypotheses are hereby stated as follows

H01: Population growth and unemployment has no significant impact in Nigeria economy.

H02: There is no significant long-run equilibrium relationship between population growth and unemployment in Nigeria.



1.6 Significance Of The Study

The findings and recommendations of the study will be of great benefits through the following ways:

  • The study will be of great importance to youths on embarking on entrepreneurial jobs rather than relying on pay jobs.
  • It provides information on population trends and their implication to the policy makers, educators, the media and the concern public servant.
  • The study will be useful to policy makers as it will redirect their policies towards the best ways to tackle unemployment in the country.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

This study is focusing on the impact of population growth and unemployment in Nigeria economy and its effect on the growth of Nigeria economy, thereby prioritizing on a thirty-year period spanning from 1985-2015. This time frame is picked in order to examine the recent trend in unemployment and population growth in Nigeria.

1.8     Organization Of The Study

The study is structured into five sections. The first section generally introduced the study and took care of the statement of the problem, Objectives of the study, etc. The second section is the literature review where different point of views of authors and authorities regarding the leading issues in the study were reviewed. The third is the research methodology. Section four deals with the presentation and analysis and interpretation of data. While section five is the last and summarizes the leading issues and recommendations were not left out here.