Nigeria’s top 5 fastest growing cities – besides Lagos

photo of people walking outdoors

Cities on the rise

We all know Nigeria has a lot of people. In fact – Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people, making it the most populated country in Africa, and it also has one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent. This economic growth is driving urbanization, and Nigeria’s cities are growing at an unprecedented rate.

According to the World Population Review, Nigeria has several cities with populations of over 1 million people. These cities are home to over 40% of the country’s population, growing at an average rate of 4.5% per year.

city life on market in poor town
Photo by Tope A. Asokere on

The five fastest-growing cities in Nigeria are:

  1. Abuja (capital) -Population 1,235,880 a 6.46% growth rate.
  2. Gwagwalada (satellite town of Abuja) – Population 506,694 a 5.53% growth rate.
  3. Lokoja (capital of Kogi State) – Population 839,000 a 5.65% growth rate.
  4. Potiskum (the largest city in Yobe State) – Population 511,448 a 5.14% growth rate.
  5. Nnewi (a commercial city in Anambra State) – Population 1,239,186 a 4.97% growth rate.

These cities are growing due to a number of factors, including:

  • Economic growth: Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing economies, and this growth is creating new jobs and opportunities in urban areas.
  • Rural-to-urban migration: Millions of people are leaving rural areas searching for better jobs and health care in the big cities.
  • Government investment: There are more resources, infrastructure, and government services in urban environments.

Challenges and Opportunities

The growth of Nigeria’s cities is creating new challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, it provides people with access to better jobs, education, and healthcare. On the other hand, it is also putting a strain on resources and infrastructure. This includes more traffic, a greater load on the already fragile electrical grid, and more stress on the housing sector – which is inadequate for the surging population.

The Nigerian government must invest in its cities to ensure that they can grow in a sustainable way. This investment should focus on improving infrastructure, providing affordable housing, and creating jobs. But the government does not have the best track record in this regard, so the private sector will have to step up and help to fight these tough challenges.

The growth of Nigeria’s cities is a sign of the country’s economic progress. But is enough being done to make our crowded cities sustainable? Big cities are great – but they should also be safe, clean, and healthy.

Roman Kingsley

Journalist based in the United States and Nigeria, focusing on Real Estate Development and the stories emerging in and around the built environment.

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