Top 10 Most Populated Cities In Nigeria – Updated

Top 10 most populated cities in Nigeria
Top 10 most populated cities in Nigeria

Have you ever wondered about the most populated cities in Nigeria?

Do you know that Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the seventh in the world?

This is as a result of having more than 400 ethnic groups, with Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as the major tribes.

It is therefore necessary to know the states and cities that have contributed immensely to this result.

Interestingly, the population of Nigeria by States has been previously discussed, so be good to visit the site and read more about that.

This article is focused more on the cities that are largely populated and their population density.

Nigeria is a country in West Africa and is often regarded as the Giant of Africa. It is an emerging economy in Africa and the most populous black nation in the world.

Amazingly, Nigeria is blessed with a lot of mineral resource and is business oriented. As a result, people migrate from one place to another within the land mass of Nigeria to establish and be established.

Cities in Nigeria have been increasingly growing due to economic progress and have become destinations for rural-to-urban migration.

Nigeria is so great in size, rich in nature and blessed with entrepreneurs. Then, which city takes most of this advantage?

Which City Is the Most Populated In Nigeria

According to researches, the latest report on the most populated city in Nigeria is the city of Lagos.

Lagos has been the most populated city in Nigeria for a longtime now, in 2006’s population census, Lagos had 7,682,953.

Lagos population - the most populated city in Nigeria

With an estimated population of 21,642,797, Lagos makes the largest city in Africa. Officially, Lagos is known to be the second fastest-growing city in Africa.

The population in Lagos city has primarily surged over the years, with millions of people being lured by economic opportunities and better infrastructure.

Lagos is the most populated city in Nigeria with a population of over twenty-one million people.

Though, ironically, Lagos is smallest city in area mass when compared to the other states. It is no doubt home to all as would find people of different tribes from different states and countries.

Let’s go into the full details of the top 10 most populated countries in Nigeria.

Top 10 Most Populated Cities In Nigeria

Here is an updated list of the top 10 most populated cities in Nigeria and their population density.


Lagos is arguably the most popular state where people often think of when they refer to Nigeria. It has 20 local government areas.

This part of the country is regarded as the economic and commercial capital of the country and West Africa at large.

The city was the capital of Nigeria till December 1991 when it was moved to Abuja. It is situated on four main islands namely, Lagos, Victoria, Iddo, and Ikoyi which are all connected by a bridge.

It is a city where you can find all types of businesses in Nigeria. Industries that thrive in the city include textiles, automobile assembly, food and beverage processing, metal works and pharmaceuticals.

Lagos has one of the top seaports in Nigeria. The state is entirely equipped with government buildings, churches, and many high-rise residential buildings.

On the other hand, you can also find traditional houses and buildings in unusual Brazilian baroque style, super-modern buildings as well as production facilities.

Population in Lagos is diverse in ethnicity due to local and global migration. The Yoruba are the largest ethnic group, being part of the South-western region of Nigeria, alongside other groups such as the Igbo, Fulani and Hausa.

Read also: Top 12 Best Estates in Lagos Mainland


The ancient city of Kano is the second largest city in Nigeria, also the largest Northern city in the country located at the North West of Nigeria.

It is the capital city of Kano State, dominated by the Hausa and Fulani people with 98% of the population being Muslims.

The city lies where the Kano and Challawa rivers flowing from the Southwest converge to form the Hadejia River, one of the major river basins in Nigeria, which eventually flows into Lake Chad to the east.

The Kano metropolis covers 137 square kilometres (53 square miles) and comprises six local government areas – Kano Municipal, Fagge, Dala, Gwale, Tarauni, and Nasarawa. However, it now includes two additional LGAs – Ungogo and Kumbotso.

A very crucial feature of the city is its tropical savanna climate. Kano is usually hot throughout the year but a bit cooler from December to January.

Aside from the rains that fall from June through September, Kano is usually dry.

Kano has a bustling industrial sector with industries such as textiles, food processing, plastics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cement, soap, metal works, and furniture.

Following the recent estimates by the Kano state government, the city’s estimate puts its population at 4 million residents. The Hausa language is widely spoken in the region while English language is the official business language.


The city of Ibadan is the capital of Oyo State with a population of over 3 million, and 33 local government areas. It is the third most populous city in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano and the country’s second largest city by geographical area after Gusau.

At the time of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Ibadan was the largest and most populous city in the country and second in Africa after Cairo.

It was founded in the 18th Century by the Yoruba community, who are still predominant in the city till this day.

Ibadan is located in Southwestern Nigeria in the Southeastern part of the state at about 119 kilometers (74 miles) Northeast of Lagos and 120 kilometers (75 miles) East of the Nigerian international border with the Republic of Benin.

Industries in Ibadan include: cigarette manufacture, food processing, furniture, metal works, handicrafts, and soap. Cacao and Cotton are the major agricultural products produced in the city.

Ibadan is linked to local and national destinations through road and air transport infrastructures, it is twinned with Cleveland, United States.

Ibadan is also a major educational center and it is home to Nigeria’s first university, named the University of Ibadan

As a result of the increase in the population and migration rate in this city in the last few years, there has been a proliferation of slum dwellings characterized by poor sanitation and open drainage system, which pose health hazards to Ibadan population.


Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria, named the Federal Capital Territory, and one of the most populated cities in Nigeria.

It is located at the center of Nigeria, known to be one of the middle belt states in Nigeria. It has an estimated population of over 3 million people.

Abuja is a modern city that was built in the 1980s. it is an administrative center and hosts government offices and international embassies. There are a large number of local and international companies.

Aside from being the capital and seat of power in Nigeria, it is home to some of the finest and luxurious real estate properties. It is also home to some of the wealthiest people in the country.

Abuja has witnessed a huge influx of people into the city; the growth has led to the emergence of satellite towns and smaller settlements to which the planned city is sprawling according to recent reports.

Abuja has been increasingly attracting foreign investors in mega projects, and this further contributes to the economic growth of the city.

Abuja is known for being one of the few purpose-built capital cities in Africa, and also one of the wealthiest.


Port Harcourt, one of the most populated cities in Nigeria, is the capital city of Rivers State, South-southern Nigeria. It lies along the Bonny River and is located in the Niger Delta.

It was founded in 1912 by Lord Fredrick Luggard. The city boasts of housing over 2 million people.

The main industry in this city is petroleum. One can find a number of oil firms in the city like Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron.

It is one of the reasons which people come to this part of the country as it poses a lot of opportunities.

Port Harcourt’s primary airport is Port Harcourt International Airport, located on the outskirts of the city.

Related Post: Full List of International Airport in Nigeria and Location

There are also quite a number of institutions of tertiary education in Port Harcourt, mostly government-owned.

It is also important to note that like Abuja, Port Harcourt is quite expensive when compared to other cities.


Benin city takes the sixth position on the list of the most populated cities in Nigeria with over 1.6 million populations in Nigeria.

It is one of the oldest cities and earliest kingdoms in Nigeria. Today, it is the capital of Edo State in Southern Nigeria.

The city can boast of rich culture and history. It is also the city with the most produce of rubber in the country.

History has it that the city is one of the richest cities due to the early trade activities of the 16th and 17th century.

The people of Benin are among those who had the first contact with Europeans back then. During this time, there were lots of trade activities between both parties.

It was to this effect that it continues to grow and became one of the famous empires in the country.

The people of Benin city are known as Edo or Bini, they speak Edo language and other Edoid languages.

The people of the city have one of the richest dress cultures on the African continent and are known for their beads, body marks, bangles, anklets, and raffia work.

Benin is home to many artworks especially bronze casting and other metal works, one of the reasons it is a tourist attraction.

Some of the other tourist attractions include the Palace of the Oba of Benin, National Museum and the King’s square.


Kaduna is a city and the state capital of Kaduna State located in the north-western Nigeria, on the Kaduna river, one of the major rivers in Nigeria.

Kaduna city is also one of the most populated cities in Nigeria with a population of over 1.5 million people.

Kaduna is an industrial center of Northern Nigeria, manufacturing products like textiles, machinery, steel, aluminum, petroleum products and bearings.

Kaduna has a large market, recently rebuilt after an extensive fire in the mid-1990s. It also has a branch of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.


Maiduguri is the capital city of Borno State, located at the Northeastern part of Nigeria and one of the most populated cities in Nigeria with an estimated population of about 1.2 million people.

Maiduguri’s population consists mainly of Muslim Kanuri and Shuwa peoples with an admixture of Christian Nigerians from the South.

Since the mid-1960s, the city has become an important industrial and educational center for Borno State.

Besides food-processing facilities, its industries manufacture leather goods, wooden and metal furniture, nails and aluminum and steel structural products. Check out on my list of steel producing companies in Nigeria.

Educational facilities are fully constructed in Maiduguri, having a university which also operates a teaching hospital, College of Legal and Islamic Studies and College of Education. The Lake Chad Research Institute is also located in Maiduguri.


In the east is also one of the most populated cities in Nigeria, located in Abia State is known as the Aba City.

It has a population of over 1.2 million people, mostly dominated by the Igbos. It is arguably the area of the state with the most commercial activities.

It is not just a business hub to the inhabitants alone, it is widely so for both the south-east and south-south.

It is not unusual, even in Lagos, to hear phrases like “made in Aba”. This is to show the extent of their commercial prowess.


Onitsha is a city in Anambra State, Southern Nigeria. The town lies on the east bank of the River Niger just south of its confluence with the Anambra River.

It has an estimated population of over 1 million residents.

Onitsha remains the chief entrepot for goods coming upstream from the Niger River delta and those transported downstream from towns on the Niger and Benue River.

Onitsha’s industries include tire retreading, saw-milling, and printing. A textile plant is located on an industrial estate south of the town near the bridge.

Onitsha is known for its river port and as an economic hub for commerce, industry, and education. It hosts the Onitsha main market, the largest market in Africa in terms of geographical size and volume of goods.

The indigenous people of Onitsha are Igbo and speak Igbo language. The people are referred to as Ndi Onicha.

Most Populated Cities In Nigeria (Summary)

Nigeria is known to be one of the countries in the world that is rich in resources and infrastructural facilities thereby attracting lots of immigrants and the reason some cities are very much populated.

Most importantly, you must know that the population of these cities is not determined by its landmass but by the number of people living in it.

It is of no doubt that Nigeria is growing rapidly and in no time will be regarded as one of the most developed countries in the world.

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