SEE! Top 20 Largest State In Nigeria By Population 2019

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Ever asked which is the Largest state in Nigeria and by population or landmass?

Here’s an updated list of the top 20 most populated states in Nigeria 2019, and information about their date of creation, capital, the total area in square kilometers, local governments areas, etc.

Have you ever heard of the Giant of Africa? Yeah, that is Nigeria; a land of wealth that is naturally endowed with numerous natural resources.

Map of Nigeria - Largest states

Nigeria is so great in size and it has been divided into different states. But which is the largest state in Nigeria by population? Let’s see.

Nigeria Land Mass Size Explained

Nigeria is located in the Western part of Africa with a damp and humid climate. It covers a land mass of 923,768km2.

Based on the 2006 census report, over 140, 431,790 people inhabit the land of which the population must have greatly increased since its 12 years after the census has been taken.

Nigeria is bordered in the West by the Republic of Benin, in the East by Chad and Cameroon, in the North by Niger and in the South by the Gulf of Guinea.

Largest state in Nigeria Nigeria land mass and size
Image by Maphill

It generates most of her revenue from oil and only 30% of the population is actively involved in agriculture.

Nigeria is known as the most populous in Africa due to its population and economy.

Did you know that a woman gave Nigeria her name?  Yes Flora Shaw, A British journalist and wife of Baron Luggard who was a British colonial administrator named Nigeria while gazing out at the river Niger.

lady flora shaw lugard named Nigeria
Flora Shaw

So let’s get down to my list of top largest states in Nigeria.

Top 20 Largest State In Nigeria 2019?

There are 36 states and capital in Nigeria but which is the most largest state in Nigeria 2019 by population?

Lagos State

Lagos state

Lagos State whose capital is Ikeja ranks as the largest state in Nigeria. Although it has a small surface area, it is the largest state in Nigeria by population.

It is found in the southwestern part of the country. The 2006 population census records 9,113,605 inhabitants but this was strongly disputed by the Lagos State government.

2015 estimate by the state government records 17,552,940 people. Who knows what the next population census will record?

Lagos state was created on 27th May 1967 with the Awori people as the first set of people to settle. Benin people who traded with the Awori people then named Lagos as Eko.

Did you know that Lagos state was once the capital of Nigeria? Now we have Nigeria’s capital to be Abuja. Learn more about the History of Abuja and how it was chosen as Nigeria’s capital

Out of the 3,577km2, Creeks and lagoons claimed 22%, meaning only 2790.06 km2 is managed by over 18 million people. No wonder Lagos is that stuffy.

The busy ports found on the island, numerous industries and multinational companies which provide jobs, seaports and airports which encourage importing and exporting are factors that make Lagos the largest state in Nigeria.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 27th May 1967
  • Capital: Ikeja
  • Total area: 3,577km2
  • Total population (2019): 21,000,000
  • Time zone: UTC+1 (GMT)
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 20

Kano State

Kano state

Kano which is situated in the Northern part of the country is the second largest state in Nigeria. The last population census records 9,401,288 inhabitants while the 2011 estimate by the Kano state government records 11,058,300.

After Lagos is Kano in terms of industries, footwear, plastics, Pharmaceuticals Cosmetics, Tanning and so on.

It was also created on 27th May 1967 and commercial agriculture serves as their major occupation. They plant food crops for consumption and export cotton to other countries.

Their official language in Kano state is Hausa but the Fulani language is commonly spoken. Isn’t that interesting? Kano state is second on the list of most populated states in Nigeria.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 27th May 1967
  • Capital: Kano
  • Total area: 20,131 km²
  • Total population (2019): 3 848 885
  • Time zone: UTC+1 (GMT)
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 44

Kaduna

Kaduna state - Ahmadu bello way

Kaduna ranks as the third largest state in Nigeria. It is also located in the Northern part of the country.

Kaduna has 23 local government areas with 6,066,562 people living in the state based on last census record in Nigeria.

Kaduna was able to record such number because it harbors a different set of people, some with a high standard of living and others with low standard.

Each set will conveniently find its own level and grade in all aspect. It harbors both Muslims and Christians though each sect has its own area in the state.

Did you know that Kaduna is one of the states in Nigeria with many local governments; 23 to be precise? Learn more about all Local government areas in Nigeria.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 27th May 1967
  • Capital: Kaduna
  • Total area: 46,053 km²
  • Total population (2019): 3 848 885
  • Time zone: UTC+1 (GMT)
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 23

Katsina

Katsina state

Katsina is found in the Northwestern part of the country with 5,792,578 people.  It was created on 23rd September 1987.

Katsina has 34 local government areas and is bordered in the North by the Republic of Niger, in the East by Jigawa and Kano and in the West by Zamfara.

The state is majorly made up of the Hausas and the Fulani whom they refer to as Hausa-Fulani

Their major occupation is farming which ranges from planting to animal husbandry.  They are the major sellers of hides and skin which are eventually used as leather in neighboring states.

As we all know, president Muhammadu Buhari is from this state. Katsina is not doing badly in terms of education.  It has 3 Universities and 5 colleges.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 23rd September 1987
  • Capital: Katsina
  • Total area: 20,131 km²
  • Total population (2019): 5 792 517
  • Time zone: UTC+1 (GMT)
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 34

Oyo state

Oyo state big state in Nigeria

Oyo state whose capital is Ibadan is the 5th largest state in Nigeria. It was created on 3rd Feb 1976 from the western state. Its population number is 5,590,581 according to the 2006 population census report.

Oyo state is mainly inhabited by the Yorubas but it’s also accommodating to other tribes. It has many educational institutes (both public and private), research institute and a number of industries in Ibadan to be precise.

Oyo state has vast and fertile farmlands which its inhabitants use for farming. Trading is also common amidst the men and women living in the state.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Ibadan
  • Total population (2019): 5 591 581
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 33

Rivers state

cross rivers state - list of top largest Nigerian states by population

Rivers state whose capital is Portharcourt is the 6th largest state in Nigeria. Of course, what comes to mind when we hear Rivers or Portharcourt is oil isn’t it?

Yes, Rivers is the center of Nigeria oil industry. That must have been a major reason why it has 5,198,716 inhabitants based on the last population census carried out by the federal government.

Men were 2,673,026 while women were 2,525,690. The 2015 estimate by the state government records 7,043,800 people. Children less than 15 years account for 36%, 15 years to 64 years account for 61% and above 65 years account for 3%.

Rivers was formed under General Yakubu Gowon administration (one of the presidents that ever led Nigerians) on 27th May 1967.

It got its name “Rivers due to the fact that it’s bordered by many rivers. Rivers state has 2 major oil refineries, 2 major seaports, airports and various industrial estates.

It has 23 local government and 26 unique groups with its own distinct languages, cultural heritage, and lifestyle.

Asides the different languages, a mixture of English and pidgin is common amidst the people. Yes, we no dey carry last for that one.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 27th May 1967
  • Capital: Port Harcourt
  • Total population (2019): 5,198,716
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 23

Bauchi State

Bauchi state
Bauchi, Nigeria: Emir’s Palace

Bauchi state is a Northern state created on 3rd February 1976. Its total population of 4,653,066 makes it find its way as the 7th largest state in Nigeria by population.

Bauchi state has 20 local government areas and 55 tribal groups. It is bordered in the North by Kano and Jigawa, South by Taraba and Plateau, East by Gombe and Yobe and West by Kaduna.

The people have similarities in language, festival, culture, and occupation.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Bauchi
  • Total population (2019): 4,653,066
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 20

Jigawa State

Jigawa dutse

The 8th largest state is Jigawa. It was created on 27th August 1991 and has a population of 4,361,002. The state is majorly inhabited by Hausas and Fulani.

Children, less than 15 years account for 45.2% while those above  15years to 59years account for 49% of the state and older people above 60years account for 5.8% of the state population.

Jigawa state has 27 local government areas and the majority of the people living there practice Islam. Only 1.1% is indigenous Christian as 98.9% are Muslims.

Although Jigawa state has both federal and state universities, 90% of the state is rural and the illiteracy rate is relatively high as 22%of women and 51% of men are illiterate.

Kudos to the government as 90% of the population readily has access to water and good health facility. In my opinion, the population is so high because the inhabitants readily procreate.

Summary Notes:

  • Date created: 27th August 1991
  • Capital: Dutse
  • Total population (2019): 4,361,002
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 27

Benue State

Benue state

Benue whose capital is Makurdi shares a common boundary with the republic of Cameroon. It has 4,235,641 people with the male being 49.8% and female, 50.2%.

Benue state is the 9th largest state in Nigeria. This state is named after Benue River and it has 23 local government areas with 9 ethnic groups.

The population is not evenly distributed as some areas have high number of people while some areas have low density.

The state is blessed with agricultural products such as soybean which serves as a supplier to many states in the country. Limestone is also found in large quantity and it is readily explored as it serves as a source of income to the state.

Did you know that 75% of the people dwelling there are farmers while 10% are traders, 6% are civil servant and 9% work privately? Now you know.

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Makurdi
  • Total population (2019): 4,235,641
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 20

Anambra State

Anambra state land mass

This is the 10th largest state in Nigeria. It is found in the South Eastern part of the state. Anambra whose capital is Awka got its name from the Anambra River.

As at 2006, record shows their total population as 4,182,032. 62% of this population lives in the city while the remaining 38% live in the rural area. Also 98% of the population is Igbo while the remaining 2% are Igalas.

Anambra state has 21 local governments and their major urban areas are Onitsha and Awka. The Onitsha market is one of the largest markets in Africa.

Education is taken seriously as the number of literates in the state is high. The state is proud of three public universities and 3 private universities; no wonder Nigeria’s great writers such as Chimamanda Adiche, Chinua Achebe hail from there.

The Anambra river basin which serves as a source of crude oil could also be a reason for their population as it attracts investors to the state.

  • Date created: 27th August 1971
  • Capital: Makurdi
  • Total population (2019): 4,235,641
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 21

More of The Largest  States In Nigeria By Population 2019

You’ve got a list of the top ten largest states in Nigeria, now let’s have others.

Borno State – The Second Biggest State In Nigeria By Land Area

Borno state in Nigeria

Borno state is located in the Northern region of Nigeria. It is the 11th largest state in Nigeria as it has a population of 4,117,104.

The state is majorly made up of the Kanuri people. Borno has 27 local governments and farming is their major occupation.

Due to the Boko Haram insurgency, their agricultural sector has been really affected and many have been displaced and they now live in the IDP camps in the state.

Summary:

  • Date created: 27th August 1971
  • Capital: Maiduguri
  • Total population (2019): 4,117,104
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 27

Also Read: Full List of all Nigerian Political Parties and their slogans

Delta state

Delta state Nigeria

Delta state is the 12th largest state in Nigeria. Its capital is Asaba and record shows its population has 4,112,445. Male are 2,069,309 and females numbered 2,043,136.

The state has 25 local governments and majority practice Christianity while a few practice traditional religion. The Urhobos are highly significant in the state as they number more than 2 million.

The state has a huge deposit of oil and Agriculture is practiced extensively in the state. Delta has 29 educational institutes ranging from universities to polytechnics and colleges of education.

If you don’t know that the football legend Jay Jay Okocha hail from this blessed state, now you know!

Niger State – The Largest State In Nigeria By Land Scale

Niger state large state in Nigeria

Niger state was created on 3rd February 1976 and record shows it has a population of 3,954,772. It has 25 local government areas and it was named after river Niger.

The state is proud of two hydroelectric dams (Kainji dam and Shiroro dam), largest national park, Borgu game reserve and Zugurma game reserve.

Summary:

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Minna
  • Total population (2019): 3,954,772
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 25

Imo State

Imo - state

Imo state ranks as the 14th largest state in Nigeria. Imo state capital is Owerri, found in the South East Region of Nigeria.

It is located between the lower river Niger and the upper Imo River and the state is named after the Imo River.

The population is numbered 3,927,563 and they majorly depend on Agriculture and natural resources.

Imo state has many rivers, natural resources, crude oil, and natural gas. The 163 oil wells in 12 different locations helps to bring investors to the state thereby increasing the population of the state.

Summary:

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Owerri
  • Total population (2019): 3,927,563
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 27

Akwa Ibom

Akwa Ibom state

Akwa Ibom whose capital is Uyo is the 15th largest state in Nigeria. It was created from Cross River on 23rd September 1987 and it is found in the South-South. It is bordered in the East by Cross river, West by Rivers and Abia and in the South by the Atlantic Ocean.

The record shows the numbers of the inhabitants as 3,920,208. It has 31 local government areas, 21 ministries, and 14 educational institutions.

The major ethnic groups which are Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Eket, and Obolo are majorly Christians. Akwa Ibom has that population majorly because it is an oil and gas producing state.

This must have encouraged an influx of people to the state.  The state also has an airport and two major seaports on the Atlantic Ocean.

Summary:

  • Date created: 23rd September 1987
  • Capital: Uyo
  • Total population (2019): 3,920,208
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 13

Ogun State

 Ogun state Nigeria

Ogun state was created on 3rd February 1976 and it is found in the southwestern part of Nigeria. The state is named after the Ogun River and the inhabitants are numbered 3,751,140.

It has 20 local government areas and 21 institutions.  Industries such as Nestle, Procter, and Gamble, Dangote Cement, etc encourage an influx of people to the state thereby increasing its population.

Summary:

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Abeokuta
  • Total population (2019): 3,751,140
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 20

Sokoto State

sokoto state mosque

Sokoto is found near the confluence of Sokoto River and Rima River in the North Western part of the country and it ranks as the 17th largest state in Nigeria.

Record has its population as 3,072,676. The population is majorly made up of Hausas who practice Islam religion.

Sokoto has 23 local government areas and 80% of the population practice agriculture.

Most of the foods ranging from tomatoes, millet, rice, corn, cereal, beans eaten in the southwest are brought from Sokoto.

Summary:

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Sokoto
  • Total population (2019): 3,072,676
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 23

Ondo State

Ondo state

This is the 18th largest state in Nigeria. Ondo’s capital is Akure and it is found in the South Western part of the country.

It has 3,460,877 inhabitants who are distributed in 18 local government areas. The major language is Yoruba with a unique dialect.

Akoko Northwest is most populated as they have a total of 213,792 inhabitants of which male are numbered 108,057 and female 105,735.

Summary:

  • Date created: 3rd February 1976
  • Capital: Akure
  • Total population (2019): 3,460,877
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 18

Osun State

Nigeria - Osun state

Osun state is also found in the South Western part of the country and it is bordered by Kwara to the north, Ekiti to the East, Ogun to the South and Oyo to the west.

Osun state capital is Osogbo and it has a population of 3,416,959. This state is named after the Osun River. Interestingly, the richest musician in Nigeria is from this state.

Osun state has 30 local government areas and the people practice various religions such as Islam, Christianity, and traditional religion.

It has a number of educational institutions one of which is the Obafemi Awolowo University which is located in Ile Ife. It is the 19th largest state in Nigeria.

Summary:

  • Date created: 27th August 1991
  • Capital: Osogbo
  • Total population (2019): 3,416,959
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 30

Kogi State

Nigeria kogi state

Kogi state which its capital is lokoja makes the 20th largest state in Nigeria. The only state in Nigeria that is bordered by 10 other states was created on 27th August 1991.

Record has its population as 3,314,043 inhabitants who practice farming extensively. It has 21 local government areas, 2 universities, 1 polytechnic and 5 colleges.

The land is also blessed with coal and steels no wonder Ajaokuta steel company limited reside there.

Summary:

  • Date created: 27th August 1991
  • Capital: Lokoja
  • Total population (2019): 3,314,043
  • Number of Local Government Areas: 21

Which Is The Largest City In Nigeria By Population – Most Populated City

Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria with an estimate of 9 million people. The megacity has a lot of things that attract people of various background and status.

These things include busy ports, numerous industries, multinational companies, airports, different ranges of structures and lots more.

Some people have a high standard of living while some live in the slum all struggling to meet daily needs.

In fact, some who leave Lagos to other parts of the country find it difficult to adjust as they claim other places are too dull and boring.

According to CNN, Lagos ranks 3rd on the list of most stressful cities in the world and this is because of the high population which affects traffic,  debt level, physical and mental health, nature and a host of others.

The city has islands separated by creeks and main lands that are connected by bridges.

Smallest City In Nigeria

Uromi in Edo state is the smallest city in Nigeria. It has a population of 101,400 people. It is made up of a combination of small communities filled with Esan people who speak Esan language.

The smallest city in Nigeria - Uromi Edo state

It has an institute of technology, a technical college and lots of business offices. It is a single administrative division that has powers of self-government as given by state laws. Unlike Lagos, most of the city is covered with land.

Alimosho is the largest local government in Nigeria. It is found in Ikeja division, Lagos State. According to the Lagos State government, more than 2 million people reside there. The local government chairman is named Jelili Sulaimon.

Most Populated State In Nigeria 2019

Isn’t it quite interesting to know that Lagos state is the smallest state in Nigeria when it comes to the land mass? Still, it is the state with the highest population of over 21,000,000 people.

Yes, Lagos state has the smallest land-mass of 3,577 km².

lagos is the smallest state in Nigeria

Did you know that Lagos ranks as the 5th largest economy in Africa? Yes o, even at present, its goal is to be the 3rd.

In fact, many Lagosians believe the growth and economic stability of Nigeria rest on the shoulders of Lagos.

Learn more about other top richest state in Nigeria and their respective Gross Domestic Product values in this post.

Now we’ve come to a close.

When we talk population and the largest state in Nigeria, this doesn’t necessarily mean a large state will have the highest population.

Largest State In Nigeria (Summary)

Increase in the population of any state is enhanced by the natural resources found in it, what the state has to offer to the people and how well the inhabitants procreate.

But overpopulation issues, on the other hand, has its downsides.

Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world and all she needs to cater for this population has been provided by God.

However, its inhabitants will only be blessed if only the blessings are harnessed well.

I hope you’ve found this post to be helpful, please drop your comments, give it a like and don’t forget to share with your friends.

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