Monday, October 14, 2013

Lagos swallows up Kano three times

For those who have been in Kano, can you report on the underground dwelling places of the good people of Kano?  Or perhaps the city is organized into highrise buildings?  I ask these stupid questions because of the stupider fact that according to official records repeated everywhere from wikipedia to a website of professional urban planners (I won't be asking their services, thank you very much), Kano and Lagos states are in a dead heat for greatest population in Nigeria. 
An eagle flew over the country and said no freaking way.
Check this out:
This is the densest of Kano, and contains almost all of the city.  Outside the "city" of Kano shown here, there is no spot of dense population in the state, i.e. you'll just find one "main street" with no branches/junctions. Let me zoom out and show you:
 Here's a photo of the crowded city of Kano that I nabbed from Google Maps.

Now let's compare with a few other Nigerian cities.
Aba, with its famously dense city center, seems to be close to the same size as Kano, or at least you'll agree that pop_Aba + pop_Ilorin > pop_Kano.  That's quiet Ilorin below.  Its population may be close to half that of Kano. 

Here is Ibadan, with its famous "brown rusted roofs" - great novel of that title, get it. 
When I was a kid (the 1980s), Ibadan was said to be one of the "largest cities in Africa."  Today, it is far from the largest, but in size and population it certainly dwarfs Kano.  This is nothing to be proud of or ashamed of; it just is so. 
Above is the Northern half and below, the southern half of most of the city of Ibadan.

Putting these two maps together, I'll just go ahead and guess that Ibadan has twice as many people as Kano.  What do you think?

And now for Lagos
Lagos is massive.  Lagos is growing.  Oh Lagos has parts that you never knew were there.  In Ikorodu, there's practically a brand new city sprouting.  Lekki-Ajah - disgusting how fast the place has become crowded.  Neither of those places made it into the three non-overlapping maps of some of the most densely populated parts of Lagos.  Also doesn't show West of Festac all the way to Badagry.
This is some of Lagos north of Ikeja.  Note that all of these maps, from Kano to Lagos, are at the same scale.
This is Lagos around Ikeja.   
Lagos around Surulere-Apapa-Yaba, south of Ikeja.  On the bottom right is a peek of Lagos Island, but not including Victoria Island, Ikoyi, and all the way to Epe.  

My credentials
I went to school, plenty of school, that's true.
But what you didn't also know is that I once won a contest to guess the number of candy pieces in a large (maybe two feet high) bottle.  I won hands down.  I guessed almost to the exact count of like a thousand pieces of candy.  Really, just apply a little geometry and it's not that hard - area/circumference of a circle, volume of a cylinder and whatnot.  My prize was the candy-filled bottle, which I moved to my dorm room, and then to my friend's room since I don't actually eat candy and might have never finished it.  Hi Z.I.!

False figures
Here's hoping somebody does the more detailed estimation before I have to.  There are satellite images that could be used to make very good estimates of the population and settle this needlessly contentious matter of how many people we are in Nigeria and how many in each state/region/so-called geo-political zone
Until then, this data is thrash.  There is no universe in which Kano has a larger population than Lagos state. 
Perform your own investigations (before somebody rigs the satellite images lol) using these interactive maps of Nigeria.
Read a brief history of census attempts in Nigeria

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Anonymous said...

Lmao@ 'before somebody rigs the satellite images'. That's the funniest phrase ever. I very much agree with ur article by the way. Nice one.

t said...

you go fear fear, as in, read my share of John Grisham conspiracy novels back in the day :)

t said...

Today's estimates:
Omoku, town in Rivers State, assuming one person in every 10m by 10m space, approximately 40,000 people. Wikipedia: 32,000 :)

Lagos, assuming one person in every 5m by 5m, about 24 million.
Lagos, assuming population density of Accra, about 15 million (as Accra is estimated at 4m people (2012, according to Wikipedia)
Suspicion: Lagos is more densely populated than Accra.

Ibadan, assuming one person in every 10m by 5m , 4million people. Wikipedia 1.835million(1991)

Cairo, Egypt, assuming one person every 2.5 by 5m, 32million people.
Wikipedia: 7million with an additional 10million in its urban area. Also on same page, 2011 data given as 9.1million in city, 17.3 million people per sq. km density, Urban population of 17.3 million, and metro population of 19.4 million.
I overestimate the number of people in this case. I doubled the population density vis a vis Lagos because Cairo seems to be filled with tall apartment buildings - four storeys or more. I wasn't even including New Cairo, 6th of October city, and I already almost doubled the greatest population estimates on Wikipedia, hmm. Wonder why.

t said...

meant to write for the popdens of Cairo 17,000 people per sq km, not 17.3 million, obviously an error.

I assumed a popdens of 1 per 5m x 2.5m that is 200x400people per sq km or 80,000people per square km. Honestly, I'm sure this is closer to the true population density of Cairo proper than the 17,000 figure. Have you been to Cairo? People live on the roofs of the highrise buildings even, people sleep in the street at night, and then dress up decently to re-start the hustle just before daybreak.

t said...

Looking at Google Earth (satellite pictures, as opposed to maps of the inferred roads and features)
Maybe the maps are incompletely drawn? In a way that is biased towards Lagos? Maybe.

t said...

This is Bichi, a big town in Kano.
Bichi via satellite Its population on Wikipedia is more than double my estimate (100,000 people, Wikipedia has 277, 099).
What is your estimate for Bichi? Why?
Thanks for dropping by.

t said...

I'm back on Google Maps, searching for millions of missing people. Downloaded Google Earth to search more closely; ended up with this notice on Jigawa State. In that state, well over half of the people counted in 2006 appear to be missing. Say a million or so live in Hadejia, Gumel, Dutse, and other towns at least 4km in perimeter. The rest must be in extremely tiny settlements of loners without roofs? I wonder where the nomads lay their heads to sleep such that their huts don't register at all on the maps, even at such fine resolutions. And I wonder if there are so many - millions - of them, how their herds get enough to eat. Burning questions.
For the record, Wikipedia has Jigawa with a population of 4,361,002 (over four million people, wow) making it the 8th most populous state in Nigeria in the 2006 census.
Till next time...

t said...

In other news, I think the population of Nigeria now (2013) is almost exactly 160million people actually. The distribution is roughly:
A. 50 million in a Northern zone that is half or more of the land area. You could say it's split into a North-East Quarter: Borno and Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe, Bauchi and Plateau, and Kaduna (7) states with about 25mpeople total;
and a North-West Quarter: Sokoto and Zamfara, Kebbi and Niger, Katsina and Kano, and Jigawa, (7) states with about 25mpeople total as well.

B. 55 million people in the so-called southwest, a zone that includes Lagos and historical Yorubaland. You could say this includes two key areas:
Lagos, tiny but mighty with about 25m people;
and then the remaining 30mpeople are in Ogun and Oyo, Osun and Ondo, Ekiti and Kwara (6) states.

C. 55 million people in a heartland and south-eastern quarter. This can be thought to include two areas:
A south-eastern zone, consisting of Enugu and Ebonyi, Anambra and Imo, Abia and AkwaIbom, Rivers and CrossRiver (8) states with about 30mpeople total; and
A heartland zone that covers Nassarawa and Kogi, Benue and Taraba, Edo and Delta, and Bayelsa (7) states totalling perhaps 22m people, plus the Federal Capital Territory at 3m people, for a zonal total of 25m people.

Someday I might check my assumptions more closely but as a first approximation, yeah, this should work.

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why people are bent on changing facts. No one said "Kano"has more people than "Lagos", but "Kano State" has more Poeple tha "Lagos State". Afterall not all of what we call Lagos is in Lagos state, but Kano city is a tiny part of kano state. And good work detective with taking a picture of acient Kano as the most populated section. Hot sure if you have ever gone to Kano state your self and travelled across the villages and towns. There is a village every few kilometers in all directions. And that s where the population leaves. The area around Kano is really fertile (Go read unbiased narratives of how Kano became the center of commerce). ALl these southerners keep coming to make stupid and bigoted comments without even checking your facts right. The north has 79% of the area of Nigeria, even with these figures the population density of the south is 3.3. time the poplaion densite of the north. I am not sure what you guys want - you will deny everyting including the truth. I-too-know people! The poplation of Kano state may not be exactly the figure quoted by NPC, but same is true for Lagos.

Anonymous said...


The popoplation density of the south-east is 563pp/km2. and nother east, central and north west 69.7, 84, 166 respectively. South west and south south have 348 and 248.7 respectively. What more do you want? You are more densely populated, we hear. But your area is only 21% of the land. Sorry bros's, that's just the fact. Interestingly these figures seem to claim that swampy inhospitable mangroove are even more densely poplated than lush fertile savannah. But that is not the issue it must be Kano-State versus Lagos town! Wahala.

t said...

Anonymous, you are welcome to check the images yourself (download google earth - i know i know you don't have the time or interest) or take your own photos and show how putting together the remaining scant settlements outside Kano city may then move the needle greatly.

I already discussed that Kano town is only a small part of Kano state and even showed the scantness of Kano State outside Kano city. As an analogy, if you put together the net worth of 200 bus conductors, then add that to Dangote's net worth, the total is still approximately Dangote's net worth. The population outside of Kano is like adding 200 bank clerks...

I'm not particularly interested in what north or south means (artificial constructs that may lead to us fighting instead of progressing together), just in showing data and pointing out lies or inconsistencies.
Don't assume that I'm tribalistic or against the North. If you have insights to share, please do so.

Akin said...

What do I say? If you've traveled the length and breadth of Nigeria and have visited various localities in Lagos and Kano, you'd easily discrad the notion that Kano is more populated than Lagos

Akin said...

What do I say? If you've traveled the length and breadth of Nigeria and have visited various localities in Lagos and Kano, you'd easily discrad the notion that Kano is more populated than Lagos

Ojo Ola said...

It is unfortunate that there's much mudslinging about population figures since 1959. There hasn't been any trusted/trustworthy census in Nigeria because of large scale fraud which is the bane of the country's development and growth. Not until we remove fraud and suspicion from our political and administrative systems, Nigeria may never develop.

Ola Ojo

t said...

Sarah Sabry writes in this SOAS paper on the underestimated urban poverty in Egypt (aka underestimated population in Cairo) that
"Moreover, the formal boundaries of Greater Cairo are unclear and ever-
changing. Depending on the boundaries chosen, its total population could range between 12.5 million and 18 million. As Greater Cairo has mushroomed outward, the poorer peripheral areas that have now become, in reality, an integral part of it are still considered rural.
This misrepresentation is due partly to the government’s restrictive
definition of urban areas. In fact, the 2000 and 2005 national
Household Income, Expenditure and Consumption surveys (HIECs),
which have produced the data for the poverty estimates in Egypt, rely
on the outdated 1996 census for their sample frame.

An additional reason that Greater Cairo’s urban population is grossly
underestimated is that Egypt’s national statistical agency, CAPMAS,
consistently undercounts the populations of informal settlements.
Since these slums are difficult environments, survey enumerators
are reluctant to stray very far into their midst.
Moreover, the areas
closest to their main entrances—which are the most likely to be
surveyed—tend to be better off. These slum populations also tend to be discounted because their large size could be regarded as a failure
of government policy.

I want to spend a few hours considering the following question more closely: is the population of Cairo closer to 10 million as officially reported or to 30million as I estimated a year ago?

Sulaiman Nasidi said...

Don't spend your time Arguing on pipulation of Kano. Kano Is Due practice Polygamy for example: The former Emir of kano Alhaji Dr. Ado Abdullahi Bayero has 64 children, Alhaji Ado Dandawaki a Rich (man In kano) has 120 children my Grand father Alhaji Nasidi Has 50 children including my Dad among others.
So how can you compare the range of Kano Polygamous Society and Lagos.
Reason it!

Bayo Akinbi said...

Well the population census could be wrong, as much as your methods of estimations could be too.

1) Housing patterns for both cities are very different in that there might be few people per house in Lagos probably due to birth rate and living pattern of dwelling in small numbers as opposed to Kano which might probably have higher birth rates and more number of people per house in that the living patterns accommodate both nuclear and extended family members.

2) Land use differ between both states. Industrial sites, office buildings, schools, markets, public infrastructure etc (in both states) which are not being harboured round the clock might influence population estimation. Bare arid land, water bodies, vegetation are not left out and are also peculiar to the North.

3) Your method of estimation is somewhat an indirect means and might not give an appropriate representation of population figures.

However do take this criticism on a light note, your method might not be ruled out in a real population census scenario but probably employed as a rough pre estimation approach before a more direct approach at a census is carried out

t said...

What is the population of Lagos? Certainly over 20million, around 1/7th of the Nigerian total and likely in the top 10 of megacities in the world.

Official Lagos State population data from the site
(The full webpage text is reproduced below, along with the table from a 2005 census):

Although Lagos state is the smallest state in Nigeria, with an area of 356,861 hectares of which 75,755 hectares are wetlands, yet it has the highest population, which is over five per cent of the national estimate.

As at 2006, the population of Lagos State was 17.5 million, (based on the parallel count conducted by the state during the National Census) with a growth rate of 3.2%, the state today has a population of over 21 Million. This was corroborated by the recent immunization exercise carried out across the State, where 4. 3million children were immunized. Children within the Immunization bracket are estimated at 20% of the entire population.

The UN estimates that at its present growth rate, Lagos state will be third largest mega city the world by Y2015 after Tokyo in Japan and Bombay in India.

Of this population, Metropolitan Lagos, an area covering 37% of the land area of Lagos State is home to over 85% of the State population.

The rate of population growth is about 600,000 per annum with a population density of about 4,193 persons per sq. km. In the built-up areas of Metropolitan Lagos, the average density is over 20,000 persons per square km.

Current demographic trend analysis revealed that the State population growth rate of 8% has resulted in its capturing of 36.8% of Nigeria’s urban population (World Bank, 1996) estimate at 49.8 million people of the national million populations. The implication is that whereas country population growth is 4/5% and global 2%, Lagos population is growing ten times faster than New York and Los Angeles with grave implication for urban sustainability.

Local Government Male Female Total

Agege 564,239 468,825 1,033,064

Ajeromi-Ifelodun 723,644 711,651 1,435,295

Alimosho 1,099,656 947,370 2,047,026

Amuwo Odofin 301,012 223,959 524,971

Apapa 264,728 257,656 522,384

Badagry 187,427 192,993 380,420

Epe 153,360 170,274 323,634

Eti-Osa 460,124 523,391 983,515

Ibeju-Lekki 49,613 49,927 99,540

Ifako-Ijaiye 380,112 364,211 744,323

Ikeja 328,778 319,942 648,720

Ikorodu 364,207 324,838 689,045

Kosofe 527,539 407,075 934,614

Lagos-Island 461,830 398,019 859,849

Lagos-Mainland 326,433 303,036 629,469

Mushin 684,176 637,341 1,321,517

Ojo 507,693 433,830 941,523

Oshodi-Isolo 514,857 619,691 1,134,548

Somolu 517,210 507,913 1,025,123

Surulere 698,403 575,959 1,274,362

STATE TOTAL 9,115,041 8,437,901 17,552,94

Source:Lagos State Bureau of Statistics 2005.