Will Nigeria's census happen in 2023?

Jan 09, 2023|Dumebi Oluwole

2023 is a historic year for Nigeria. 

Not only are we looking towards the most important election since 1999, but there could be a census. We say "could" because, in typical Nigerian fashion, the planning and budgeting for the census have mostly been audio.

The Population and Housing Census (PHC) is scheduled for April 2023, barely two months after the general elections are slated to take place. The time frame is almost impossible, considering that a successful census takes time and requires vast resources like money and trained enumerators.

Key takeaways

  1. After the general elections, Nigeria’s first digital national population census could happen in April 2023. 

  2. Although improper planning and lack of funds make it impracticable, it has become imperative that Nigerians be counted. 

  3. Accurate population numbers are useful to the government for proper planning and helpful for business/investment decisions. 


No funds were earmarked for the exercise in the 2023 budget even after the Nigerian Population Commission (NPC) stated that it needs ₦533 billion for Nigeria’s first digital and much-needed census. 

What we see, instead, is a 44% upshoot in the statutory transfer (including “inauguration” and severance costs) to the National Assembly (NASS) to ₦228 billion from ₦159 billion in the budget proposal. Even INEC, spearheading the highly anticipated general elections, didn’t receive as much as the NASS. I guess the Nigerian government has started 2023 with top-notch priorities, excellent planning and achievable goals (sarcasm intended). 

Still, Nigeria needs this census—it’s been a long 17 years since the last census in 2006.

So, in today’s article, we will discuss in detail why the 2023 census matters for Nigeria.  

A digital census

According to the Nigerian Population Commission (NPC), the 2023 PHC

Invest with Confidence, Operate with Precision.

Access economic and industry data & insight for global organisations.

Trusted by leading global organisations