IMPACT OF POPULATION GROWTH ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT LEVEL IN NIGERIA (1981-2013)
· Background of the study
The alarming rate of population growth and unemployment in Nigeria currently calls for great concern among policy makers to formulate effective and efficient economic policies to arrest this ugly trend. In recent time, one of the greatest problems of population growth in Nigeria is not simply a problem of numbers, it is a problem of human welfare and of development as rapid population growth can have serious consequences for the well- being of the citizenry. According to recent statistics made available by PMC (population media center, 2015) Nigeria is currently the 8th most populous country in the world with a population size of 182,201,962 and population growth rate of 2.54 percent. It is expected that it will double in the next 28 years if left unchecked.
If development entails the improvement in people’s standard of living – their incomes, health, education and general well-being – and if it also encompasses their self-esteem, respect, dignity and freedom of choice as seen by ( Amartya Sen, 1999) then, the really important question about population growth is how does the Nigeria population growth contribute to, or detract from the chances of Nigeria realizing the goals of development, not only for the current generation but also for the future generations. Furthermore, how will Nigeria be able to cope with the vast increases in the labour force over the coming decades? Will employment opportunities be plentiful? Or will it be a major achievement just to keep unemployment levels from rising?
According to National Bureau of Statistics, (2016) first quarter, the national unemployment rate was 5.5% and the labour force participation rate was recorded at 71.1%. The highest unemployment rate was among females (5.7%) compared to males (5.2%).
It is in the light of the forgoing issues in an attempt to answer these critical questions that this study tends to evaluate the impact of population growth rate on the level of unemployment in Nigeria. This is because the population growth rate of a country remains a critical factor in the development of the economy and where not properly managed, could inflate the scourge of poverty in the economy. On the other hand, population growth can be a useful factor in providing a workforce for the production of goods and services to boost economic development, and remains a critical determinant of the potential of a country’s investment. It can act as a double –edged sword on the economy of that country.