Top 20 Most Populated States in Nigeria 2023 (Updated)

Top 20 Most Populated States in Nigeria 2023 (Updated). In this article, we shall be taking a look at the most populated States in Nigeria this 2023.

Most Populated States in Nigeria

What Is Population?

Population typically refers to the number of people in a single area, whether it be a city or town, region, country, continent, or the world.

Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world with over 216 million people and with this figure, she sits comfortably at the top as the most populous country in Africa as well. With such high figures in terms of population, one might wonder which States rank highest as the most populated where people are concentrated. Some of the most densely populated States in the country are located in the South-West and the Northern parts of the country with the South-South and the South-East geopolitical zones featuring but not having much representation in the list.

The following table presents a listing of Nigeria’s 36 states ranked in order of their total population based on the 2023 Census figures, as well as their 2016 projected populations, which was published by the National Bureau of Statistics.

See Also: Top 10 Richest States In Nigeria And Their GDP Currently

Summary Top 20 Most Populated States in Nigeria (Updated)

Here’s our list of the 20 most populated states in the country based on these UN estimates.

Rank (2023) State Population (2012) Population (2023)
1 Lagos State 16,000,288 21,000,000
2 Kano State 9,113,605 12,550,598
3 Kaduna State 6,113,503 8,252,366
4 Oyo State 5,580,894 7,840,864
5 Katsina State 5,801,584 7,831,319
6 Rivers State 5,198,716 7,303,924
7 Bauchi State 4,653,066 6,537,314
8 Borno State 4,171,104 5,860,183
9 Jigawa State 4,361,002 5,828,163
10 Benue State 4,253,641 5,741,815
11 Delta State 4,112,445 5,663,362
12 Niger State 3,954,772 5,556,247
13 Anambra State 4,177,828 5,527,809
14 Akwa Ibom State 3,902,051 5,482,177
15 Imo State 3,927,563 5,408,756
16 Ogun State 3,751,140 5,217,716
17 Sokoto State 3,702,676 4,998,090
18 Osun State 3,416,959 4,705,589
19 Ondo State 3,460,877 4,671,695
20 Zamfara State 3,278,873 4,515,427

Top 20 Most Populated States in Nigeria

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 most populated states with reference to the 2006 census as well as another current updated list(2023).

  1. LAGOS

Popularly called Eko in Yoruba, Lagos is the most populous urban centre in Nigeria and one of the most populous urban centres in Africa.

The origin of the name Lagos is Portuguese in origin and it means ‘lakes’

Lagos is a major financial centre and is said to have the highest GDP in Africa. One of the busiest ports in Africa is located in Lagos.

There are conflicting figures when it comes to the population of Lagos. The State government puts the population at 22 million although the UN estimates indicates that a little over 14 million people living in Lagos.

However, the census in 2006 pegs the population of the state at around 8 million.

See Also: Top 10 States In Nigeria With High Job Opportunities


Kano is the second most populous state in the country according to UN estimates. The state was created on the 27th of May 1967. Kano is known for food crops like millet, cowpeas, sorghum, maize, rice. The state is also a major producer of cotton, garlic, soybean, gum arabic, chili pepper, sesame as well as hides and skins.

Based on the NBS data, Kano is the most populous state in the country with a population of over 13 million people. A vast majority of this populace are Hausa people.


According to the population census in 2006, there were over 6 million residents in the state. The capital of Oyo state is Ibadan. Currently, the UN estimated population of Oyo is over 15 million.


Kaduna is located in the North-western part of the country. The state had over 6 million people according to the population census in 2006. Current estimates put the figure at around 12 million.

Kaduna has 23 local government areas with over 60 ethnic groups in the whole state.

Kaduna is known for its many educational institutions. These include the likes of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Federal Polytechnic, Kaduna State University, Nigerian Defence Academy and the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria

The state is the fourth largest state in Nigeria based on land area. The state has an estimated 46,053 km2.


Rivers State is the most prominent oil producing state. The state was created on the 27th May, 1967 and the capital is Port Harcourt. Rivers has a total land area of 11,077km2.

Rivers is surrounded by Eastern states like Imo, Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa and Delta states.

There are several ethnic groups in the state. These include Abua, Andoni, Ekpeye, Engenni, Etche, lbani, lkwerre, Kalabari, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Okrika and Ogoni.

Rivers state is divided in to 23 local government areas. Current estimates put the number of peopl living in Rivers state at around 10 million.


Located in the North Western part of the country, Katsina is 6th most populous state in the country.

The origin of the state can be traced to Kaduna state from which it was carved out. The predominant ethnic group in this state is the Hausa people.

The state is primarily a Muslim state however churches like the Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Roman Catholic Church are quite popular in the area.

See Also: Full List of 371 Tribes in Nigeria And Their States


Bauchi state was created in 1976 after the break-up of the North-Eastern state. in 1996, Gombe state was carved out of this state.

According to recent estimates, there are over 9 million people living in Bauchi state although 2006 census puts the figure at 4,653,066.

Although, the people in Bauchi are predominantly Hausas, there are actually over 50 tribal groups in the state

In the past, Bauchi was one of the major sources of tourism and freedom in the Fulani Empire of Sokoto.


Anambra is a state that is known for its industrious spirit. Nnewi and Onitsha come to mind when we talk about the industry of the state. These areas have produced several billionaires and multimillionaires. These include the likes of Cosmas Maduka, Prince Arthur Eze, Emeka Offor, Innocent Chukwuma, Ifeanyi Uba and many more.

The state currently has a population of over 8 million people. The 2006 population census released estimates of 4, 055, 048 but it is believed that the population has since double.

Anambra state is made up of predominantly Igbo people with the minority group being the Igala people.


Jigawa state is located in the North central part of Nigeria. The state was created from Kano state in 1991. According to the population census of 2006, about 4.3 million people live in Jigawa state. But recent estimates put the figure at 8.1 million people.

  1. BENUE

Popularly called the Food basket of the Nation, Benue is the 10th most populated state in the country with a population of 4.2 million according to the 2006 population census although the current population is around 8 million people.

The state is located in the middle belt and the major ethnic groups are the Tivs, Idomas and the Igedes.


Delta State is a state in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Named after the Niger Delta—a large part of which is in the state—the state was formed from the former Bendel State in August 27, 1991. Bordered on the north by Edo State, the east by Anambra and Rivers States, and that south by Bayelsa State while to the west is the Bight of Benin which covers about 160 kilometres of the state’s coastline.


Niger is a state in the North Central region of Nigeria and the largest state in the country. Niger state has three political zones, zone A,B and C. The state’s capital is at Minna. Other major cities are Bida, Kontagora and Suleja. It was formed in 1976 when the then North-Western State was divided into Niger State and Sokoto State.


Anambra State is a Nigerian state, located in the southeastern region of the country. The State was created on August 27, 1991. Anambra state is bounded by Delta and Edo States to the west, Imo and Rivers States to the south, Enugu State to the east and Kogi State to the north. According to the 2006 census report there are over 4.1 million residents in the state.

See Also: Full List of Oil Producing States in Nigeria (2023)


Akwa Ibom State is a state in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria, bordered on the east by Cross River State, on the west by Rivers State and Abia State, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. The state takes its name from the Qua Iboe River which bisects the state before flowing into the Bight of Bonny. Akwa Ibom was split from Cross River State in 1987 with her capital Uyo and with 31 local government areas.


Imo State is a state in the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, bordered to the north by Anambra State, Rivers State to the east and south, and Abia State to the west. It takes its name from the Imo River which flows along the state’s eastern border. The state capital is Owerri and its state nickname is the “Eastern Heartland.”


Ogun State is a state in southwestern Nigeria. Created in February 3, 1976 from the former Western State. Ogun State borders Lagos State to the south, Oyo State and Osun State to the north, Ondo State, and the Republic of Benin to the west. Abeokuta is both Ogun State’s capital and most populous city; other important cities in the state include Ijebu Ode, the former royal capital of the Ijebu Kingdom, and Sagamu, Nigeria’s leading kola nut grower.


Sokoto State is one of the 36 states of Nigeria, located in the extreme northwest of the country on the national border with the Republic of the Niger. Its capital and largest city is the city of Sokoto. Sokoto is located near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River. As of 2005 it has an estimated population of more than 4.2 million.


Osun State, occasionally known as the State of Osun by the state government, is a state in southwestern Nigeria; bounded to the east by Ekiti and Ondo states, to the north by Kwara State, to the south by Ogun State and to the west by Oyo State. Named for the River Osun—a vital river which flows through the state—the state was formed from the southeast of Oyo State on 27 August 1991 and has its capital as the city of Osogbo.

See Also: Full Nigeria Postal Code List for All 36 States


Ondo State is a state in southwestern Nigeria. It was created on February 3, 1976 from the former Western State. Ondo State borders Ekiti State (formally part of the state) to the north, Kogi State to the northeast, Edo State to the east, Delta State to the southeast, Ogun State to the southwest, Osun State to the northwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The state’s capital is Akure, the former capital of the ancient Akure Kingdom. Ondo State includes mangrove-swamp forest near the Bights of Benin.


Zamfara is a state in northwestern Nigeria. The capital of Zamfara state is Gusau and its current Governor is Bello Matawalle. Until 1996, the area was part of Sokoto State.

Zamfara is a densely populated area with the Hausa and Fulani peoples. The Zamfarawa mainly in Anka, Gummi, Bukkuyum and Talata Mafara Local Governments areas. Gobirawa populated Shinkafi Local Government. Gobirawa actually migrated from the Gobir Kingdom.

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