Implications of Population Growth on Human Development in Nigeria

This research work investigated the implication of population growth on human development in Nigeria. The sample taken for the study comprises of time-series data covering the period of 1980-2013. Regression analysis was conducted to ascertain the impact of population growth on the Human Development Index in Nigeria. The result from the Johansen regression analysis indicated that a negative significant relationship exists between population growth and human development index (HDI) in the long run. The error correction model revealed that population growth shows a negative relationship with HDI. The study recommends that to raise human development in Nigeria, demography structure must be considered. Adequate provision should be made for the large population size within the youthful ages.

Keywords: population growth, human development index (HDI), poverty,

In capturing development and the performance of nations, focus is placed on human at the centre of all aspects of the development process. The human development denotes widening people’s choices and improving their well-being, the human development index has been accepted as a good measure. Human Development Index (HDI) introduced in 1990 reflects achievements in the most basic human capabilities through leading a long life, knowledge ability and enjoying a decent standard of living (UNDP1990), this can be represented as health, education and income thereby forming the three pillars of human development. The United Nations using the Millennium Development Goals targeted improvement on health with focus on the reduction of infant and child mortality and reducing maternal mortality which is attainable through improved health.
The human development index is used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. Countries with higher lifespan, education level, GDP per capita and lower fertility rate and inflation rate scores higher. UNDP (2010) acclaimed that human development goes far beyond income and growth to cover all human capabilities, needs, aspirations and choice of the people. Sub Saharan Africa where Nigeria belongs is among the lowest in ranking. In 2013, Nigeria ranked 153th with 0.471 index, Ghana ….., Liberia…., Togo… and 15…. . . In debating the controversial relationship between population growth and development, regional disparity abound. East Asia growth have been linked to their increased population while in Africa, population growth showcase the tendency to hamper growth in the first few decades of the 21st century unless environmental, economic and population policies changes
In terms of population, Nigeria rank 1st and 9th most populous in Africa and in the world with high population growth and fertility rates. It is envisaged that by 2050, Nigeria population will be about ……. Nigeria is a country of marked contrasts; from high economic growth to poverty, from high level of urbanization to low rural development, from vibrant youth population to unemployment, from vibrant democracies to conflict and violence. Despite the impressive significant economic growth witnessed in the past years (2000- 2014), Nigeria faces many hurdles and challenges to development. Poverty rate increased from 52 percent in 2004 to 63 percent in 2011(NBS 2012). Unplanned urbanization creates wide infrastructural gap due to congestion and overpopulation. Health care and general living conditions in Nigeria are poor, especially for women and children. Child and infant mortality are high while HIV/AIDS remains a major issue of concern among children, young people and women. With the present scenario, what effect does the unchecked population growth has on human development in the country? This study objective centres on examining the effect of rising population growth on human development in Nigeria. Specifically, the study intends to examine the trends and levels of demographic variables and HDI in Nigeria and also analyze the effect of population growth on human development index in Nigeria.
Assessment of Human Development Index in Nigeria
Focussing on the components of human development index entails three variables of its measurement; literacy rate, gross per capita income and life expectancy rate). Education is an important factor in economic growth and development, Nigeria educational system is faced with myriad of challenges distorting the country developmental processes. Such challenges include inadequate funding, poor planning and management control, inadequate infrastructure and low level of commitment by students and teachers at all levels. Literacy rate measured by secondary school enrolment stood at 44% in 2014 (World Bank data).
Life expectancy rate, an indication of average life span of individuals in a country is determined by the heath status and living conditions of the people. Life expectancy stood at 53 years for Nigerians (World Bank database). The combination of these three variables in Nigeria led to her 156th position in the 2014 human development ranking. Comparing this position with other nations human development level reveals that Nigeria is in the bottom middle HDI level. While rapid advancement is taken by some countries in Asia, Nigeria is yet to have upward rise in the index. Variant of the index ranges between 0-1, an index of 0-0.49 indicates low development, 0.5-0.69 represents medium development, 0.7-0.79 refers to high development while 0.8 and above means very high development.
Table 2.1: Human Development Index in Nigeria (1980-2013)
Year HDI HDI Ranking
1980 0.378
1985 0.391
1990 0.411
1995 0.432
2000 0.445
2005 0.470
2010 0.492
2013 0.504
3.0 Nigeria Population Growth and Age Structure
Nigeria is the 8th most populous nation in the world and Africa’s most populous nation with population estimates of about 174 million people and an annual population growth rate of 2.8 percent (World Bank, 2013). The component of Nigeria’s population size is structured relatively to the age components of the people in the nation. A close look at the nation’s population age structure revealed that 3% of the population are above 65 years. 44% of the population fall in the age bracket 0-14 while 53% of the population fall in the age bracket 15-64. This is an indication that the proportion of those in the child bearing age is high while that of the aged with no hope of reproduction is low. The ratio of the non working population to working is high and will continue to be high due to the high young population structure in 0-14 years. The youth age dependency rate is also high for the country as a result of the high population in ages 0-14. At the micro level, this exerts a negative impact on household saving rates as individuals in the working population will definitely have at least an individual to feed and support. Nigeria’s total dependency ratio as at 2014 is 89% with the youth dependency ratio being 84% with the aged taking 5%. The implication of this is that the dependant per family is higher than the working population, thereby making it difficult for a family to adequately save and attain optimum standard of living. Understanding of high fertility rate in Nigeria is linked with the micro fertility theory which indicates the rationale behind desires towards having children.

Table 3.1
China 1372 India 1660
India 1314 China 1366
United States 321 Nigeria 440
Indonesia 256 United States 400
Brazil 205 Indonesia 366
Pakistan 199 Pakistan 363
Nigeria 182 Brazil 227
Bangladesh 160 Bangladesh 202
Russia 144 Congo, Dem. Rep. 182
Mexico 127 Ethiopia 178
Source: 2015 Population Reference Bureau

(0 to 14) (15 to 64 (64+)
1980 2.86 44 53.2 2.77
1985 2.57 45 52.2 2.84
1990 2.58 45 52.3 2.87
1995 2.49 44 53 2.86
2000 2.51 44 53.7 2.8
2005 2.5 44 53.7 2.7
2010 2.68 44 53.3 2.8
2014 2.66 44 53.1 2.7
Source: 2015World Development Indicators database

Literature Review
Theoretical Literature
Of recent, the ultimate goal of development has been on human development which spread to the idea that greater freedom and capabilities improve economic performance. The theory on human development is underpinned in Sen (1985) capabilities approach. The capabilities approach framework provides lens for analysing poverty through emphasises on its normative and ethical dimension. It emphasis the intrinsic importance of human capabilities as opposed to the instrumental importance of income and therefore argued for multidimensional dimensional assessment of analysing poverty through the adoption of the various constraint that limits peoples live and existence (Atkinson 2002). The approach is an economic theory conceived in 1980s as an alternative approach to welfare economics. It is essentially a people –centred approach with proposition that human social arrangements should be evaluated according to the extent of freedom people have to promote and achieve their valued functions. The Human Development Index generated by the United Nations is conceptually founded on Sen’s capability approach towards expanding people’s choice.
Empirical Literature
Dawson and Tiffin (1998) used time-series data to analyze a long-run relationship between India’s economic development and population growth. The study employed the Johansen cointegration test to analyze the relationships between the two variables and found no long-run equilibrium relationship between the population growth and economic development in India. This means that these pairs of variables did not seem to move jointly, thereby, concluding that population growth neither causes per capita income growth nor is caused by it. The study identification of economic development was on per capita income which captures only the monetary aspect. This measure fails to capture the living standard of the people and their access to health and welfare.
Kraay (2000) identified the one-child policy in China which is a way of population control as a vital factor in raising the level of household and aggregate saving in the country. He argued that the introduction of China’s one child policy has contributed dramatically to the decline of the population numbers under the age of 14. As a result of these reforms, the dependency ratio pattern changed. Households can now save more than before thereby increasing their savings.
Thornton (2001) identified the relationship existing between population growth and economic development in seven Latin American countries: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Venezuela using Johansen cointegration test and revealed that long-run relation between population and real per capita GDP does not seem to exist; hence, per capita income growth is not a function of population growth. This analysis covers cross country and does not indicate the result of individuals. Regional disparities abound among the countries and have the capability of spurious regression.
Herrin and Pernia (2003) work on population growth in Philippines identified that there has been a remarkable population growth in the Philippines since the 1970s. They argued that, with structural weaknesses in the economy, the growth of population rapidly seemed to have exacerbated unemployment and poverty problem of the country. This result is quite similar to Mapa and Balisacan (2003) which pointed out that among the ASEAN member countries, rapid population growth in the Philippines provided relatively low benefit to economic development as it negatively impacted on the nation’s economic development. Instead, the country had to pay a high price for its unchecked population growth.
Dao (2012) analyzed the economic effect of the demographic transition on forty three developing countries using least square estimation regression. The result reavelad the the growth of per capita GDP is linearly dependent on population growth, the dependent ratio and mortality rate. the study concluded that population growth matters.
Atanda, Aminu and Alimi (2012) examined the role of population growth on economic growth and development in developing and developed countries which covers (Bagladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico aand Nigeria) and Germany, and United States.the study found that fertility rate, crude rate, birth rate, mortality rate and life expectancy rate are the major determinants of rapid population in the developimng countries . howvevr, the analytsis further indicated that excluding Mexico, developed countries (United States) with large population size have a higher real economic well-being as measured by the real GNP per capita compared with selected developin g countries. The study advocated for population control framework and the provision of eesntial infrastructure for the rapid population growth size in developing countries.
Ali and Amin (2013) tested the impact of population growth on economic development of Pakistan for the period of 1975-2008 and found that demographic transition helped in creating policy environment that takes maximum advantages of demographic potential of the country. With the use of ARDL technique, the result of the model indicated that on economic growth in Pakistan, population growth has positive and significant effect but also affect the development of the country through increases in unemployment rate.

Model Specification:
Statistics shows that African countries ranked very low in level of Human Development Index. Progress in health and medical care system has been noticed in Nigeria. Yet the country level and trend of Human Development Index indices is still challenged. Hence, this objective is structured to ascertain the role of ever increasing population growth in the country on the growth of human development index.
The equation of the model is built as: 〖HDI_t=f(POV〗_(t ),〖TADR〗_t,〖POPT〗_t)
Explicitly, this becomes;
〖〖HDI〗_(t )=∝〗_(0 )+∝_(1 ) 〖POV〗_(t )+ ∝_(2 ) 〖TADR〗_t 〖+ ∝〗_(3 ) 〖POPT〗_t+e_(t )
〖HDI〗_t= human development index, 〖POV〗_t= poverty rate, 〖TADR〗_t= total age dependency ratio
〖POPT〗_t= population growth rate, e_(t )= error term.
Research Techniques
This study employed cointegration technique in analyzing the impact of population growth on human development in Nigeria between 1980 and 2013. Human development index was used as proxy for human development in an attempt to ascertain the effect of population growth on living standard of the people. The short run dynamic relationship was analyzed using vector error correction model.
Sources of Data
Data on HDI was sourced from different publications of United Nations Development Programme, population growth and dependency age ratio were sourced from World Bank (WDI) while the poverty rates were extracted from different publications of the National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank reports.
6.0 Discussion of Findings

Unit Root Test
This was carried out on the variables to test for their stationarity at levels and at first difference using Phillip Perron test statistics. The unit root estimation shows that the human development index, the poverty rate, the total dependency rate and the population growth rate were not stationary at series but attained stationarity at first difference. This stationarity revealed that the cointegration test for the series can be estimated with the use of johansen cointegration as all variables in the series indicates I(1) of order of integration.
Table 7.1: Unit Root test result (Phillip Perron Test)
Variables PP-test 1% C.V 5% C.V PP-test 1% C.V 5% C.V
POPT -2.7647 -3.646 -2.954 -5.957 -3.654 -2.957 I(1)
HDI -0.6501 -3.646 -2.954 -12.48 -3.654 -2.957 I(1)
TADR -1.3162 -3.646 -2.954 -4.9158 -3.6537 -2.957 I(1)
POV -1.7755 -3.646 -2.954 -4.872 -3.654 -2.957 I(1)
Source: author’s computation; E-View
Cointegration Test Result
The result of the johanseen cointegration revealed the presence of a long run relationship among variables in the series. A one cointegrating equation revealed that a variable exhibits a long run relationship with the dependent variable. The result of the normalized johansen cointegration result indicates the magnitude and direction of the relationship among the variables. Using the trace test statistics reveal the presence of long run relationship.this is presented in table 7.2.
Table 7.2: Johansen cointegration test result (Trace Test Statistics)
Hypothesized Trace 0.05
No. of CE(s) Eigenvalue Statistic Critical Value Prob.**
None * 0.659607 59.02378 47.85613 0.0032
At most 1 0.330735 25.61652 29.79707 0.1406
At most 2 0.29402 13.1677 15.49471 0.1088
At most 3 0.073736 2.37447 3.841466 0.1233
Trace test indicates 1 cointegrating eqn(s) at the 0.05 level
* denotes rejection of the hypothesis at the 0.05 level
The normalized cointegrating equation is as shown below:
The result of the normalized cointegrating coefficient is evident that a negative relationship is between human development index, the poverty rate and the total age dependency. Population growth exhibits a positive but not significant relationship with human development index. This result is consistent with the long run result of the vector error correction model which is presented in table 7.3
Table 7.3: Long run equilibrium of Vector Error Correction Model
Variables Coefficient Standard error t-value
HDI(-1) 1.000000
POV(-1) 0.001267 (0.00046) [2.77795]
TADR(-1) 0.012520 (-128.738) [-5.24442]
POPT(-1) -0.20571 (0.04283) [-4.80311]
C -1.08524

Thus, HDI=1.085-0.001POV-0.013TADR+0.206POPT
The result of the long run dynamics using vector error correction model revealed that a negative relationship existed between poverty rates, the dependency ratio and human development index in Nigeria. This result is significant and this indicates that the poverty level of the country contributes to low level of ranking for Nigeria in Human Development Index. The negative relationship indicates that a reduction in poverty rate will affect HDI positively. The total dependency rate also exhibits a negative relationship which is significant with the coefficient.
The impact of these variables on human development index indicates that an increase in the variables lowers the growth and improvement of the human development index. The result of the short run error correction model is presented in table 7.4:

Table 7.4: Short run dynamics of Vector Error Correction Model
Coefficient Std. Error t-Statistic Prob.
ECM(-1) -0.576884 0.207169 -2.78461 0.0111
D(HDI(-1) 0.097514 0.229088 0.425661 0.6747
D(HDI(-2) 0.540564 0.23032 2.347015 0.0288
D(POV(-1) 0.000244 0.000425 0.573701 0.5723
D(POV(-2) 0.000552 0.000474 1.164399 0.2573
D(TADR(-1) -0.002945 0.005233 -0.562911 0.5795
D(TADR(-2) -0.010162 0.006759 -1.503589 0.1476
D(POPT(-1) 0.063137 0.064439 0.979798 0.3383
D(POPT(-2) 0.09608 0.057381 1.674412 0.1089
C 0.001521 0.003418 0.44514 0.6608
R-squared: 0.423054. Durbin Watson: 2.245
The result of the short run vector error correction model above revealed that the ECM is -0.57 and is statistically significant. This indicates that the variables are capable of correcting 57% errors in the previous adjustment. The population of the dependants has a negative relationship with the index of human development but this is not significant. The positive effect of the human development index in the second period revealed that the components of HDI (literacy rate, per capita income and life expectancy) should be focused on for improvement. The growth of the population does not have a significant effect on human development index because only an insignificant 0.6 % change is brought into human development index.
Diagnostic Test of Vector Error Correction Model:
In order to examine the robustness of the model, diagnostic test is implemented using autocorrelation LM test in the model: the result of the LM test revealed that at the 5% level, we cannot reject the null hypothesis that there is no auto correlation in the residuals for any of the orders tested, thus, there is no serial autocorrelation in the series because the test finds no evidence of model misspecification. The result presented in table 7.5.
Table 7.5: LM Test Result
Lags 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
LM stat 18.885 11.840 26.524 21.694 16.333 28.027 28.858
Prob 0.274 0.754 0.047 0.153 0.429 0.031 0.056

This paper considered the role of population growth on human development index in Nigeria. This paper found out that the index of human development which is determined by education, income and life expectancy of the people has been growing slowly even with the presence of slight improvement on health. The paper accrued the slow growth to prevalence of poverty and high population growth rate which increase household population size. The high total age dependency recorded in the years reviewed exhibit a negative relationship with human development index. This indicated that human social capability is influenced negatively by high household population pressure. Total dependency ratio also exhibited a negative effect on the growth of the human development index and this implies that the population within the working population is not sufficient to adequately meet the required needs of their dependants.
Based on the findings above, this study recommends the adoption of population control policy in Nigeria and the development of human capability through improved education and adequate sensitization on the usage of family planning schemes. Towards attaining household healthy wellness, improved health programmes should capture poor sanitation and the maintenance of proper hygiene by households.
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