The changing religious compositions of Nigeria: Causes and implications of demographic divergence
Marcin Jan Stonawski, Michaela Potancokova, Matthew Cantele and Vegard Skirbekk examine the role of religion on education, contraception and family behaviour in Nigeria.
At nearly 170 million inhabitants, Nigeria is Africa's most populous country by twofold and fertility levels remain higher than most other sub-Saharan African nations. Throughout the last several decades, the fertility gap between Christians and Muslims has widened with significant political implications for a nascent democracy. Where the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) survey of 1990 revealed a non-significant difference of 0·3 children, this figure had increased to 2·3 children by 2013. As the total fertility rate (TFR) of Christians decreased significantly from 6·1 to 4·5 children per woman between 1990 and 2013, the TFR of Muslims increased from 6·4 to 6·8 children per woman. The timing of this divergence coincides with the formal institutionalization of Sharia law in 1999. We examine the role of religion on education, contraception and family behaviour. Finally, we touch upon the implications for population growth and the religious composition of Nigeria in the coming decades.