Lagos Population 2017

Lagos is a port city and the most populous city in Nigeria. The metropolitan area originated on islands, including Lagos Island, that were protected from the Atlantic Ocean by sand spits. The city has expanded onto the mainland west of the lagoon, however, with Ikeja, the capital of Lagos, and Agege over 25 miles northwest of Lagos Island. Lagos has a population estimated at 21 million in 2016, which makes it the largest city in Africa.

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 2018Source: Photograph by Benji Robertson

Lagos Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
203024,239,00021.01%4,209,000
202520,030,00023.89%3,862,000
202016,168,00013.59%1,934,000
201714,234,0008.47%1,111,000
201522,846,000-2.17%-506,000
201513,123,00021.72%2,342,000
201010,781,00021.70%1,922,000
201023,352,0002.63%599,000
20058,859,00021.67%1,578,000
20007,281,00021.69%1,298,000
19955,983,00025.59%1,219,000
19904,764,00036.11%1,264,000
199022,753,0003.03%669,000
19853,500,00036.08%928,000
198022,084,00012.36%2,430,000
19802,572,00036.08%682,000
19751,890,00033.66%476,000
19701,414,00024.58%279,000
197019,654,0009.24%1,663,000
19651,135,00048.95%373,000
1960762,00062.82%294,000
196017,991,0004.13%713,000
1955468,00044.00%143,000
1950325,0000.00%0
195017,278,000-6.81%-1,263,000
194018,541,00015.95%2,551,000
193015,990,000-10.73%-1,922,000
192017,912,000-25.76%-6,216,000
191024,128,00011.60%2,508,000
190021,620,00010.14%1,991,000
189019,629,00015.40%2,619,000
188017,010,00028.53%3,776,000
187013,234,000-13.95%-2,145,000
186015,379,00045.94%4,841,000
185010,538,00047.57%3,397,000
18407,141,00025.97%1,472,000
18305,669,00058.53%2,093,000
18203,576,00044.66%1,104,000
18102,472,000-89.80%-21,767,000
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 8.47% 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.

Data Sources
  1. National Bureau of Statistics - Nigeria data and statistics
  2. National Population Commission Nigeria - Lagos State population data
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations