The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has stated that Nigeria’s population currently stands at an all-time high of 201 million, representing an increase of 5.1 million from the 195.9 million it said the country had in October last year.
The UNFPA in its 2019 State of the World Population report published on its website, said the country’s annual growth rate has been at an average of 2.6 per cent from 2010 to 2019.
According to the report, fertility rate among Nigerian women has dropped from 6.4 in 1969 to 5.3 in 2019; meaning that an average Nigerian woman gives birth to at least five children.
It said global fertility rate or the average number of births per woman stood at 4.8 in 1969; 2.9 in 1994; and 2.5 in 2019.
The report further said contraceptive prevalence rate among Nigerian women aged 15-49 is only 19 per cent, adding that decision making on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights among these women has averaged at 51 per cent between 2007 and 2018.
The report, however, implies that 49 per cent of Nigerian women still does not have the power to decide on their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
The UN agency estimated that Nigeria’s population has grown from 54.7 million in 1969 to 105.4 million in 1994 and 201.0 million in 2019.
It explained that of this 201 million, 44 per cent or 88.44 million are between the ages of 0 and 14, while 32 per cent, 64.32 million are within the ages of 10 and 24.
The report said: “Reproductive rights are still out of reach for too many women, including the more than 200 million women who want to prevent a pregnancy but cannot access modern contraceptive information and services.
“Ultimately, almost all of the 4.3 billion people of reproductive age around the world today will have had inadequate access to sexual and reproductive health services at some point.”
In 1969, the world population reached 3.6 billion, up about 1 billion from only 17 years earlier, leading to the establishment of UNFPA.
The UN agency has succeeded in reducing fertility rates worldwide by about 50 per cent.
In the least developed countries, fertility was about six births per woman in 1969.