Nigerians grow more discontent about economic conditions, report higher levels of poverty, Afrobarometer survey shows

News Release

Nigerians’ assessment of their personal living conditions and the country’s economic situation have worsened dramatically over the past two years, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

The proportion of citizens experiencing moderate or high levels of lived poverty has doubled since 2017, as majorities experienced shortages of basic necessities such as food, water, and medical care during the year preceding the survey.  

Citizens’ ratings of the government’s performance on key economic issues – including keeping prices stable, managing the economy, and reducing poverty – are overwhelmingly negative.

Key findings

  • More than eight in 10 Nigerians (85%) say the country’s economic condition is bad, a 27-percentage-point increase compared to 2020. Six in 10 (62%) describe it as “very bad” (Figure 1).

o  The proportion of citizens who describe their personal living conditions as “fairly bad” or “very bad” has increased by 24 percentage points since 2020, from 47% to 71%. This continues a worsening trend since 2014 (33%).

  • Eight in 10 Nigerians (79%) experienced moderate or high levels of lived poverty during the previous year, double the proportion recorded in 2014 and 2017 (38%), after a significant improvement between 2012 (54%) and 2014 (Figure 2).
  • Nigerians cite management of the economy (39%) and unemployment (35%) as the second and third most important problems that they want the government to address, outstripped only by crime and security (41%) (Figure 3). 
  • About nine in 10 respondents say the government is doing “fairly badly” or “very badly” at keeping prices stable (93%), managing the economy (87%), narrowing income gaps (86%), and improving living standards of the poor (85%) (Figure 4).

Afrobarometer surveys

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are currently underway. Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-toface interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice.

The Afrobarometer team in Nigeria led by NOIPolls, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,600 adult citizens of this country in March 2022. A sample of this size yields countrylevel results with a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Nigeria in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2020.


Figure 1: Negative assessment of economic and personal living conditions | Nigeria | 2012-2022

Respondents were asked: In general, how would you describe: Your own present living conditions? The present economic condition of this country? (% who say “fairly bad” or “very bad”) 

Figure 2: Lived poverty levels | Nigeria | 2012-2022

Respondents were asked: Over the past year, how often, if ever, have you or anyone in your family gone without: Enough food to eat? Enough clean water for home use? Medicines or medical treatment? Enough fuel to cook your food? A cash income? 

Figure 3: Top 10 most important problems | Nigeria | 2022

Respondents were asked: In your opinion, what are the most important problems facing this country that government should address? (Respondents could give up to three answers.)

Figure 4: Negative evaluations of government economic performance | Nigeria         | 2022

Respondents were asked: How well or badly would you say the current government is handling the following matters, or haven’t you heard enough to say?  

For more information, please contact:


Raphael Mbaegbu

Telephone: +234 63292096


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