2022 Poverty Index, Says 130m Nigerians Are Poor

The Federal Government, through the National Bureau of Statistics, on Thursday said 130 million Nigerians are poor. In its 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index Survey released in Abuja on Thursday, the NBS said the figure represents 63 percent of the nation's population. Over half of the population who are multidimensionally poor cook with dung, wood, or charcoal, rather than clean energy. High deprivations are also apparent in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity, and housing.

Multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72% of people are poor, compared to 42% of people in urban areas. Approximately 70% of Nigeria’s population lives in rural areas, yet these areas are home to 80% of poor people; the intensity of rural poverty is also higher: 42% in rural areas compared to 37% in urban areas.

However, Sixty-five percent of poor people—86 million— live in the North, while 35%—nearly 47 million—live in the South. In a federal system, it is vital to understand the level of poverty by State. Poverty levels across States vary significantly, with the proportion of the population (incidence) living in multidimensional poverty ranging from a low of 27% in Ondo to a high of 91% in Sokoto.

It was gathered that the measure used to calculate the figure was based on Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) with five components of health, living standard, education, security, and unemployment. 

Also, in terms of the MPI value, which captures the proportion of poor people as well as the intensity of their poverty, the poorest states are Sokoto, Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kebbi, Gombe, and Yobe, but we cannot say for sure which of these is the poorest, because statistically their confidence intervals (or the range within which the true value falls considering the sample) overlap.

It added that the poverty index is mostly experienced in rural areas especially in the north with women and children being the most affected.

The patterns of poverty also vary within States, with representative results available at the senatorial district level. As an example, in Kano State, the proportion of people who are poor ranges from 50% in Kano Central to 77% in Kano South. In terms of MPI composition, in three of the poorest districts—Kebbi South, Yobe South, and Sokoto North—deprivations in years of schooling and food security contribute most to MPI in Kebbi South, but in Yobe South and Sokoto North, it is deprivations in school attendance.

The Nigeria MPI can be disaggregated by vulnerable populations, such as by disability status or children. Seventy-one percent of people living in households with at least one person living with a disability (PLWD) are poor, compared to 62% of people living in households where no one is living with a disability. Two-thirds of children aged 0–17 are poor (67.5%), compared to 58.7% of adults. This gives rise to the sobering reality that over half of all poor people (51%) are children. Indicator priorities vary quite widely between States with very similar poverty levels, so interventions should be tailored to the deprivation profiles of each State. For example, Kaduna and Bauchi are nearby to each other and have similar levels of MPI, but the composition of multidimensional poverty, in terms of the percentage contribution of each indicator to MPI, varies considerably. This suggests different prioritizations and poverty reduction strategies, tailored to the composition of multidimensional poverty in each state such as more focus on health and work and shocks indicators in Kaduna than in Bauchi.

 In general, the incidence of monetary poverty is lower than the incidence of multidimensional poverty across most States. In Nigeria, 40% of people are poor according to the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line, and 63% are multidimensionally poor according to the Nigeria MPI (2022).

 In total, 29% of all school-aged children are not attending school. This is closely linked to multidimensional poverty: 94% of all out-of-school children are poor. Thus 27% of all school-aged children are both poor and out of school (with no significant gender disparities), making this a critical area in need of urgent investment.