Nigerians Largest Migration in History Was in 1990, 2020 and the Largest Will Occur in 2030

Nigerians Largest Migration in History Was in 1990, 2020 and the Largest Will Occur in 2030

There is no country in the world without migration history. A number of sources consulted by our analyst and experts he spoke to indicate that countries have had their people moving internally and externally in search of greener pastures and due to man-made or natural factors. As developed as Europe is today, information has it that “the largest migration in history was the so-called Great Atlantic Migration from Europe to North America, the first major wave of which began in the 1840s with mass movements from Ireland and Germany.”

Like countries in the Europe axis and America continent, including Asia, Nigeria has also had a share of migration before independence and still has it after several years of its independence. From media to civil society organisations and individuals, Nigerians are migrating internally and externally due to socioeconomic and political challenges. These challenges have been described as stumbling blocks for the realisation of dreams. In some cases, the media has been found guilty in influencing Nigerians movement to Europe and North America.  

Whereas, in the past, Nigeria is a place every citizen of English and French West Africa countries love to be. Available statistics indicate that between 1931 and 1952, about 250, 000 people moved into the North-Eastern Nigeria from these countries, mainly from Lake Chad to Dakar, Senegal, and from the Sahara to the Gulf of Guinea. While this account occurred to Nigeria, the emerging elites from Nigeria moved to the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe from the 1950s through the 1970s for educational pursuits and in some cases for administrative knowledge acquisition with the intent of returning to the country with valuable skills needed for nation building. 

In our understanding, a number of Nigerians indeed returned and harnessed various opportunities in the private and public sectors. What many public analysts and other nationals see as a good omen for the most populated countries in Africa turned sour when political tensions and economic stagnation in the late 1970s and 1980s increased migration. A significant number of Nigerians who migrated to the US, UK and other countries during these periods decided to stay after acquiring necessary educational qualifications. 

Exhibit 1: Average Per Decade

Source: Macrotrends, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

According to Afolayan and other colleagues, “By 1978, an estimated 30,000 Nigerian graduates from UK higher institutions were living outside Africa, with 2,000 of them living in the United States. In 1984, the Nigerian population living in the United States had increased to 10,000. 

“In addition to the poor economy, Nigerian-based professionals left because of the austerity measures of the Structural Adjustment Program, which the government agreed to as a condition of a loan from the International Monetary Fund in the mid-1980s. Because the program included devaluing the national currency, wages for professionals became lower and working conditions worsened.

“As desperation in the country continued, many less-educated youth became a significant part of the emigration stream. By the early 2000s, an increasing number of Nigerians had migrated to countries such as Spain, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium, as well as the Gulf states.

Exhibit 2: Future Migrants

Source: Macrotrends, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

“More recent migrants to continental European countries are reported to be less skilled on average, and more often work in the formal and, particularly in southern Europe, informal service, trade, and agricultural sectors. However, the United Kingdom and, in particular, the United States (through student and professional migration as well as the green card lottery) generally continue to attract the relatively higher skilled workers. In addition, relatively highly skilled nurses and doctors were recruited from Nigeria to work in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.”

What Our Analyses Say

Our analyst examines past and future migration data provided by national and international sources aggregated by Macrotrends.  Between 1951 and 1960, Nigeria had emigration more than migration. Our analysis suggests a similar result for 1961 through 1970. However, a significant difference exists between 1971 and 1980. This is in line with the early description of the country’s migration history during the period. 

Emigration results achieved between 1951 and 1960 were also recorded between 2001 and 2010. It took the country 50 years to achieve what was attained between 1951 and 1960, our analysis reveals. Our analysis further reveals that failure to address push factors would lead to more migration of Nigerians from 2021 to 2030. Between 2021 and 2030, Nigerians would have 9,232 citizens, migrating to the developed countries. From 2031 to 2040, it would be 14,201 citizens. 

Exhibit 3: Effect of migration rates of the previous decades on the incoming decades

Source: Macrotrends, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021


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One thought on “Nigerians Largest Migration in History Was in 1990, 2020 and the Largest Will Occur in 2030

  1. It is a pity that our Government has not done much for the development of citizens. I will put this way. Nigeria leaders are too mayopic, what else do you expect from such a leaders who thinks about the next election not development. With all our resources, so little has been done to advance the country. And I bet you is going to remean like this in the next ten years to come unless we do things differently which I am not seeing it coming. Nigeria needs a new sets of leaders if we must move forward. The current leaders don’t have the capacity to build this nation. They don’t have the interest of the people at heart.


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