The Importance of Census in Nigeria

Nuelson Penuel Friday, October 20, 2023 Basis



Census, the systematic collection of data about a population, plays a pivotal role in informing planning, policy-making, and resource allocation in any country. In Nigeria, a nation with a diverse and rapidly growing population, conducting regular and accurate censuses is of utmost importance. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of census in Nigeria and shed light on the various aspects it impacts.

I. Understanding Nigeria's Dynamic Population

Nigeria, with an estimated population of over 200 million people, is the most populous country in Africa. However, accurate and up-to-date data on its population distribution, age structure, and other demographic characteristics are essential for effective governance and public administration. A census provides vital information that helps policymakers better understand the population's composition and develop targeted strategies to address the specific needs of various demographics.

II. Resource Allocation and Planning

Accurate census data serves as the foundation for fair and equitable resource allocation. By understanding the size, distribution, and needs of different regions, states, and local government areas, the government can effectively allocate resources such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and social welfare programs. A comprehensive census enables policymakers to identify areas with the greatest needs and prioritize interventions accordingly, ensuring that resources are distributed fairly and efficiently.

III. Economic Planning and Development

Accurate population data is crucial for economic planning and development. It provides insights into labor market trends, consumer behavior, and the potential demand for goods and services. Businesses rely on census data to identify market opportunities, make informed investment decisions, and tailor their products and services to specific target audiences. Additionally, accurate population data informs urban planning, housing development, and transportation infrastructure, fostering sustainable economic growth.

IV. Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation

Census data is instrumental in identifying vulnerable populations, including the poor, marginalized communities, and individuals with disabilities. Accurate demographic information helps authorities design and implement poverty alleviation initiatives, social welfare programs, and healthcare interventions tailored to the needs of different population segments. By targeting assistance and support based on reliable census data, the government can reduce inequality and improve the well-being of disadvantaged groups.

V. Electoral Processes and Good Governance

Accurate census data forms the basis of proper electoral processes and ensures equitable political representation. Census figures enable the government to apportion parliamentary seats and delineate electoral constituencies in a fair and transparent manner. This prevents underrepresentation or overrepresentation of specific regions, ethnic groups, or communities and ensures that each citizen's vote carries equal weight. Census data also provides critical information for policymakers to address concerns relating to political representation and effective governance.

VI. Health Planning and Disease Control

Census data plays a crucial role in public health planning and disease control. Accurate population figures are essential in determining healthcare needs, developing vaccination policies, and allocating resources for healthcare facilities and services. During disease outbreaks, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, reliable population data assists in identifying high-risk areas, contact tracing, and implementing targeted interventions to curb the spread of the disease. Accurate census data forms the backbone of effective healthcare planning and response systems.

VII. Infrastructure Development and Transportation Planning

Reliable population data helps government entities plan and develop infrastructure projects and transportation systems. By understanding population density, growth patterns, and migration trends, policymakers can anticipate the demand for transportation infrastructure, including roads, railways, airports, and public transportation. Census data allows for efficient urban planning, reducing congestion, improving connectivity, and ensuring the smooth movement of people and goods.

VIII. Monitoring Social Progress

Regular census exercises allow for monitoring social progress indicators over time. By comparing data from previous censuses, policymakers can assess improvements in various areas such as literacy rates, access to basic services, gender equality, and poverty reduction. This data helps evaluate the effectiveness of policies and interventions, guiding future decision-making to achieve sustainable development goals.


Census plays a vital role in promoting evidence-based decision-making, effective governance, and equitable development in Nigeria. Accurate data on population distribution, socio-economic characteristics, and demographic trends are indispensable for resource allocation, infrastructure development, economic planning, and social welfare initiatives. Without reliable census data, policymakers risk basing their decisions on incomplete or outdated information, potentially leading to inefficient resource allocation and ineffective policy implementation. Nigeria must continue to invest in robust census exercises, ensuring they are carried out regularly and adhering to international standards of accuracy and transparency. By prioritizing accurate data collection and analysis, Nigeria can harness the power of census information to drive sustainable development, reduce inequalities, and improve the overall well-being of its diverse population.

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