Nigeria is now the country with the highest number of children, age 0 to 14, out of school. These numbers vary from state to state, and as a result, the problem is worse in some states than in others. In some states, the proportion of out of school children is higher because they have lower population numbers than their neighbours, in others, the percentage of out of school children is lower.

These maps draw data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Nigerian Population Commission (2018 population projections, and 2006 population census figures), and the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey from 2016-17.

It is important to note that the NPC’s population projection assumes the same rate of growth for all LGAs within each state. The undercount of the 1991 census was estimated to be about 25 million. Lagos disputed the 2006 census results, and in 2014, the Niger state governor said that his state was under-counted in the 2006 census. All population figures for Nigeria show high error rates; census results are disputed.

In the final analysis, these figures are unacceptable. Even for Anambra state, which at 6.22% has the lowest percentage of its school-age children out of school. This number of out of school children has future economic implications for the country. But there are some bright spots. Borno state, with 6.39% of its population out-of-school, and 13.8% of its school-age children out-of-school, is showing signs of resilience, despite a brutal 9-year insurgency by Boko Haram, who want children not to go to school. While a lot of the success in Borno is down to non-governmental organisations, its achievement indicates that with the will, resources, and the right direction, this crisis can be solved.