Niger Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Niger Country Overview

Where is Niger located? Located in West Africa, the state owes its name to the Niger River, which flows through the south-west of the state. The time zone map, which divides countries into time zones according to longitude, shows that Niger is in a world time zone called “West Africa Time”. As in Western European Time, there is a standard difference of one hour to the coordinated world time. This hour clocks in Niger are ahead of the world clock (UTC+1). Unlike in Europe, however, there is no changeover to daylight saving time. As a result, this time difference of one hour remains the same throughout the year.

Nigeria National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Niger is 22,772,361, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 22,772,361
Population growth rate 3.66%
Birth rate 44.20 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 54.34 years
Men life expectancy 53.17 years
Women life expectancy 55.55 years
Age structure
0-14 years 48.68%
15-64 years 48.68%
65 years and above 2.64%
Median age 15.20 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 1.01
Population density 17.97 residents per km²
Urbanization 22.20%
Niger – last census 2012: 17,138,707 residents – 55.4% Hausa, 21.0% Nilo-Saharan groups (Djerma, Songhai), 9.3% Tuareg, 8.5% Fulbe (Peul), 4.7 % Kanuri; Tubu, Arabs and Europeans
Muslim 80%, remainder indigenous religions and Christens
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.377
HDI ranking 189th out of 194

People in Niger

22 million people live in Niger. The population has grown rapidly in the last few decades. The population is still growing, namely by 3.7 percent every year. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world.

There are many people who live in Niger. With 55 percent, the Hausa make up the largest share. They live in the south, on the border with Nigeria. You can see it in red on the map. The Zarma and Songhai only make up 21 percent of the population, but they are the ones who hold political rule in the country. They live in the southwest, where the capital Niamey is located. On the map you can see their main residential area in yellow.

9.3 percent of Nigerians belong to the Tuareg. Tuareg are among the Berbers. Tuareg traditionally live as nomads. So they don’t have a permanent place of residence, but move around and live in tents. Meanwhile, however, many Tuareg have also settled down. Incidentally, the Tuareg do not use this name to refer to themselves. On the map you can see their habitat in dark green.

8.5 percent of Nigerians are Fulani (in purple on the map). They live in the southwest near the border with Burkina Faso. Kanuri (in light green) live in the southeast, on the border with Nigeria. They make up 4.7 percent of the population. The Kanuri see themselves as descendants of the Bornu empire.

  • Children: Every woman in Niger has an average of seven children (6.9). This is very much. With us, each woman has an average of only 1.4 children. Children and young people in Niger make up a large proportion of the population. More than half of the population is under 18 years old!
  • Infant mortality is 2.5 percent, child mortality for one-year-olds is 4.8 percent (as of 2018, ours: 0.2 and 0.3 percent). That means: a little less than three out of 100 newborn children die, almost five out of 100 children do not celebrate their first birthday. The numbers have fallen sharply in the last few decades, but are still far too high.
  • Urban and countryside: 16 percent of Nigerians live in cities. That is little compared to other countries in West Africa.

Languages in Niger

The official language in Niger is French. It is a legacy from the colonial days when Niger was under French rule. Even so, French is only spoken by around 10 percent of the population. French is used more in writing.

In addition to French, there are a few other languages ​​spoken in Niger, as different peoples live in one country. You count eleven to 24 languages ​​- depending on how you count them, you get different results. As national languages Arabic, Buduma, Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, Hausa, Kanuri, Songhai-Zarma, Tamascheq, Tasawaq Language and Tubu apply by law. They are to be specially protected.

Hausa is an important language. It is the language of the Hausa people, but is spoken by 75 percent of the population in Niger, either as a first or second language, and even understood by 85 percent. Hausa is the most important commercial language in West and Central Africa. In addition to French, Hausa is taught in primary schools. Hausa can be written in Latin letters, but also in Arabic.

Other languages are Songhai-Djerma (22 percent speakers in Niger), Fulfulde (language of the Fulbe, 10 percent), Tamascheq (language of the Tuareg, 10 percent) and Kanuri (4 percent).

The Tuareg language is written in a special script. It’s called the Tifinagh script. The letters are geometric signs that look like a circle or a plus sign, for example. It looks like this, for example: ⴻⵍⵎⴻⵖⵔⵉⴱ.

Religions in Niger

94 percent of Nigerians profess Islam. Christians and followers of ancient natural religions are therefore in the minority.