More than 50% of Niger's population belongs to the Hausa, which also is the largest ethnic group of northern Nigeria, as well as the Zarma-Songhai. Both groups are sedentary farmers who live in the southern area of the country.
The rest of Nigeriens are nomadic or semi-nomadic and raise livestock. The Fulani, Kanuri, Arabs, Toubou, and Tuareg count for around 20% of the country's population. With the country's population rapidly increasing, creating more competition for scarce resources, the farmer and herders have clashed several times.
A study in 2005 estimated that about 8% of Niger's population is enslaved.
Niger Religion, Economy and Politics
Between 80 and 98% of Niger's population is Muslim, although there are small Animist and Christian communities. Most Muslims in the country are Sufi and Sunni, with about 5% being Shi'a Muslims. Niger maintains a reputation as a secular state that is protected by law. Women are not secluded, and hijabs are not mandatory.
As a landlocked nation, mineral export accounts for much of the country's GDP. In recent years, the government has been trying to increase investment in infrastructure, which has unfortunately led to a lot of debt, making for a weak financial system.
Niger gained its independence from France in 1960 and was ruled by a military regime for the next three decades. An election in 1993 dave the country a democratic government and elected a democratic socialist in 2011.
Niger Population History
Niger came under the control of the French in 1922 but became an autonomous state within the French community by 1958. Drought devastated the nation throughout the 70s and 80s, but the population growth has been extremely strong, if not too much so, regardless. For the majority of the 1900s, the growth rate was well over 2% annually but went over 3% by 1990. This has continued until the present day, where the rate is now near 4%.