Nigeria will begin its first national census in 17 years at the end of March, a Nigerian official said on Friday, as authorities in Africa’s most populous country seek updated data on the precise population and size of various ethnic groups.
Nigeria’s population is estimated to be over 200 million and the United Nations expects that number to double by 2050.
This would make Nigeria the third most populous country in the world, surpassing the United States.
Nigeria’s census figures influence oil revenue sharing and political representation among 36 states and 300 ethnic groups.
Previous charges were discredited after disputes between the three main groups, the Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo.
Nasir Issa Kura, chairman of the National Population Commission, told reporters the census will take place from March 29 to April 2, more than a month after Nigerians took part in the ballot box for a new president.
Nigeria originally planned to conduct a census in 2021, but authorities have delayed the process, citing widespread insecurity, particularly in the north, where an Islamist insurgency and kidnappings for ransom have taken place.