Lagos Population 2017

The Lagos State Government estimates the population of Lagos at 17.5 million, although this number has been disputed by the Nigerian Government and found to be unreliable by the National Population Commission of Nigeria, which put the population at over 21 million in 2016. Lagos surpassed Cairo in size in 2012 to become the largest city of Africa. The population was estimated at just 11.2 million in 2011 by the United Nations.

Lagos Demographics

Lagos was originally inhabited by the Awori group of the Yoruba people. Today, it has a very diverse population due to heavy migration from other parts of Nigeria and surrounding countries. The Yoruba are the dominant ethnic group. There are more than 250 ethnic groups represented in Lagos, however, including the Hausa, Igbo, and Fulani. Small minorities of American, British, East Indian, Chinese, white Zimbabwean, Greek, Syrian, Lebanese and Japanese are also present in the city. In the mid-19th century, many ex-slaves of Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban descent and emigrants from Sierra Leone created communities in Lagos, along with ex-slaves from the Americas. They became missionaries and merchants in the city.

While there are many millionaires in Lagos, about 66% of the population lives in slums. In fact, the city has been dubbed the "mega-city of slums," with millions living in and around the lagoons with no access to roads, clean water, electricity or waste disposal. The World Bank has identified 9 of the largest slums of the city for upgrading with a $200 million loan from the United States, which would benefit about one million people. One large slum is Makoko, which has no security and rampant crime.

Lagos Population Growth

Lagos has enjoyed tremendous growth, reaching 21 million from just 1.4 million as recently as 1970. The city now generates 25% of Nigeria's total gross domestic product and it has many millionaires. It is also the 8th fastest growing city in Africa. Unlike the rest of Nigeria, Lagos is a great example of what is possible when the government offers energy and other initiatives to its residents.

Lagos is also a window to the future. In about 25 years, at the rate Nigeria is currently growing, it will have a population of 300 million, or the same as the present-day United States, all living in an area the size of Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona. With the population doubling over the last 15 years, living standards across Nigeria remain poor. Today, 25% of Africans are Nigerian.

By 2050, Lagos' population is expected to double, which will make it the 3rd largest city in the world but with less infrastructure than any other large cities of the world.

Lagos Population in 2017 Source: Photograph by Benji Robertson

Lagos Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
1950 325,000 0.00% 0
1955 468,000 44.00% 143,000
1960 762,000 62.80% 294,000
1965 1,135,000 49.00% 373,000
1970 1,414,000 24.60% 279,000
1975 1,890,000 33.70% 476,000
1980 2,572,000 36.10% 682,000
1985 3,500,000 36.10% 928,000
1990 4,764,000 36.10% 1,264,000
1995 5,983,000 25.60% 1,219,000
2000 7,281,000 21.70% 1,298,000
2005 8,859,000 21.70% 1,578,000
2010 10,781,000 21.70% 1,922,000
2015 13,123,000 21.70% 2,342,000
2017 14,234,000 8.50% 1,111,000
2020 16,168,000 13.60% 1,934,000
2025 20,030,000 23.90% 3,862,000
2030 24,239,000 21.00% 4,209,000
Lagos Population Growth

Lagos's 2017 population is now estimated at 14,234,000. In 1950, the population of Lagos was 325,000. Lagos has grown by 1,111,000 in the last year, which represents a 8.50% change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Lagos, which typically includes Lagos's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.