Due to factors like insurgency, illiteracy, and unemployment, some Nigerian states are “multidimensionally poor”. Their poverty index is quite high compared to that of any state in the category of the wealthiest. Here are the top ten poorest states in Nigeria.
As revealed by the National Bureau of Statistics and the 2019 GDP of the Nigerian states, below are the top 10 economically poor states in Nigeria.
The sad thing about this list though is that majority of the names on it came from one region, Northern Nigeria.
Making you wonder what the governments of these states have been doing with their resources.
While it is true that extreme climatic conditions and the absence of mineral resources like oil in commercial quantity, play a part in these states being poor, we have also seen others doing well while faced with similar challenges.
Which State Is The Poorest In Nigeria Presently?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Sokoto State is unenviably the poorest state in Nigeria. It has an 81.2% ratings on the poverty level.
It is the state with the least number of foreign-owned investments, thanks to its extreme climatic conditions and the fewer deposits of money-generating natural resources.
Illiteracy and bad governance are two other factors that have kept Sokoto State at the level it is today. Other states that come close to Sokoto in terms of poverty rankings are found below.
Poorest States in Nigeria 2022
Based on the information from the National Bureau of Statistics, listed below are the top Nigerian states rated the poorest among all the states of the federation.
- Sokoto State
- Katsina State
- Adamawa State
- Gombe State
- Jigawa State
- Plateau State
- Ebonyi State
- Bauchi State
- Kebbi State
- Zamfara State
10.) Zamfara State
Zamfara State is among the states affected by poverty the most in Nigeria. Though Zamfara has a landmass more than 12 times the size of Lagos, the state comes very short in terms of internally generated revenue, natural resources, jobs, tertiary institutions, industries, and good governance.
Zamfara relies mainly on its agricultural strength which wouldn’t have been a bad thing if the government focused on it and developed it, by encouraging and giving farmers all the support needed for the industry to thrive within the state.
Traveling through Zamfara will make you wonder about the type of government that has been in place in that state. The State currently has a poverty index of 70.8%.
9.) Kebbi State
Like Zamfara, Kebbi State is located within the North-western region of Nigeria. They actually share boundaries with each other.
Kebbi is one of the states that were created in 1991. Since its creation now, the state has been bedeviled by unemployment, illiteracy, weak economic policies, and bad governance which has given them a place on this list.
According to data from NBS, Kebbi State has a poverty rating of about 72%, giving them a solid place on this list.
8.) Bauchi State
Bauchi State is rated 73% on poverty level by the National Bureau of Statistics. The state is one of those North-eastern states that appeared it had a glorious future before it was brought to its knees by the Boko Haram Insurgency.
Bauchi State was created in 1976 and is one of the top 5 biggest states in Nigeria by total surface area.
Apart from Boko Haram being a major challenge in this state, the activities of Fulani Herdsmen, Unemployment, Illiteracy, and Poor government policies have contributed to this state being ranked among the poorest in Nigeria.
7.) Ebonyi State
Ebonyi is the only state from the Southeastern part of the country to make it to this list. Over the years, the state has suffered gross mismanagement at the hands of its leaders.
The state has been rated 73.6% on poverty level by the National Bureau of Statistics. The highest rating any South-eastern state has.
Ebonyi is currently battling illiteracy, unemployment, lack of basic amenities, low foreign investments, poor governance, hunger, and so on. So it’s not a surprise to see it as the 7th poorest state in the country.
6.) Plateau State
Plateau State is home to several tourist attractions and natural resources that its government could have leveraged to turn the state into one of the richest states in Nigeria today. But sadly, the state still falls among the top 10 poorest states in the country.
A major factor that has contributed to the state swimming in poverty with all its potentials is the continuous conflict between the indigenous and Fulani Herdsmen.
The last time I traveled to the state in 2018 and moved from Jos to Miango, I was deeply hurt to see several houses burnt down along the road, as a result of the conflict. Plateau has a 74.1% rating on the poverty level.
5.) Jigawa State
Jigawa is bordered by the Republic of Niger, giving it the opportunity of having foreigners enter the country for commercial purposes through it.
The state also shares boundaries with a very prosperous state in the North, Kano, and others like Yobe, Kastina, and Bauchi.
Jigawa is home to Dutse, the capital and one of Nigeria’s oldest cities. Though the state has all it takes to be counted among the top players in Agriculture in the North, tribal conflicts and herdsmen clashes with farmers have greatly limited its abilities.
It is currently rated 74.1% on poverty level by the National Bureau of Statistics.
4.) Gombe State
Gombe is one of the Nigerian states located within the Northeastern part of the country. Gombe has been a victim of mismanagement, economic instability, tribal conflicts, and Boko Haram Insurgency.
Gombe State has been governed by people who to advantage of the gross illiteracy in the state to launder their state resources and deprive them of the basic amenities found in other states in the country.
According to NBS, Gombe state poverty level is 74.2%.
3.) Adamawa State
Adamawa is a part of the state that is yet to recover fully from the devastations caused by the activities of Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has held many states in Nigeria hostage since 2009.
Adamawa ranks very high on the list of Nigerian states with high rates of unemployment, poor social amenities, and high illiteracy level. Apart from Yola the state capital, life everywhere in the state is very difficult.
According to NBS ratings, Adamawa’s state poverty level is about 74.2%. We hope the present-day government of the state can do something about this very fast.
2.) Katsina State
Katsina is one of the states considered the poorest states in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics. The state is the least-richest state in the North Central region of the country.
It has been reported by several media houses to be among the least developed states in the country. Take away the city of Katsina which is the capital, and you have a state lacking seriously in social amenities.
The state is rated 74.5% on poverty level by NBS.
1.) Sokoto State
Sadly, Sokoto state wears the unenviable crown of Nigeria’s poorest state. A crown it has worn for several years now. Sokoto‘s major challenge is not Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen, or tribal conflict as you may think.
The state being the Islamic caliphate, is actually one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. The major problem with the state is the climate.
Sokoto is among the states with the most unfavorable environmental condition. The temperature of the state alone is about 45 degrees Celsius, year in year out.
This unfriendly climate has led to very little presence or complete absence of foreign investments in the states.
These are the current poorest states in Nigeria based on the ratings of the National Bureau of Statistics.
Did anyone notice Borno is no longer in this least with all her Boko Haram challenges? That is because the government there is working. We hope to see the same with these states soon.