How Many Ethnic Groups Are In Nigeria?

The country Nigeria is a nation with rich cultural diversity. The culture of the nation is shaped by her multi-ethnic groups. It is not easy to separate ethnic, regional, and religious divides in the Country’s domestic politics. It can be also said that, Nigeria has been broken down between the Igbo and Christian, south-eastern states, who are predominant, the predominant Hausa Fulani, Kanuri and Muslim, northern states, the Yoruba and religiously mixed, central and southwestern states who are predominant, and the predominant Ijaw and Ogoni, Niger Delta Region, who are mostly Christians.

In simplified terms, the country can be broken down into the North and South. The south is predominantly Christian and the North is mostly Islam. The ethnic groups are evenly spread in terms of numbers, and as a result, always competing for presidential powers between regions. Managing this diversity has been and may continue to be a major challenge for the Nigerian government. The fear of domination from ethnic and religious groups has been an age-long occurrence. Seeing that religious identity always falls along ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and political lines, it consecutively provides an occasion for the display of violence.

Sources from the 2018 estimation reveal that Nigeria’s major ethnic groups are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, and Fulani. According to the estimations, the said ethnic groups each take up a substantial amount of the nation’s population, even though other ethnic groups exist. This has been regarded by many countries as a fascinating characteristic of the Nation. So if you have often wondered how many ethnic groups Nigeria has, you are in the right place. That information will be revealed to you in no time!

How Many Ethnic Groups Are In Nigeria?

As measured by self-identification as well as the presence of diverse languages, the country Nigeria has about 200–300 ethnic groups. Evident in the Nation’s map, is the general location of some major centers of the more extensive groups. The Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa spread out across their regions into some other regions. Scout News Correspondents from the Nigeria Cultural Diversity deduction 2021 reveal that the country has more than 521 languages, and more than 1150 dialects and ethnic groups.

According to them, the 4 largest groups are the Igbo who are predominant in the South Eastern states, the Ijaw predominant in the Niger Delta, the Hausa and Fulani who are predominant in the Northern States, and the Yoruba who are predominant in the South Western States. In the region between the Igbo land and the Yoruba land, the Edo people are predominant. Followed by this group are the people of Ibibio/Anang/Efik who reside in the coastal south southern Nigeria, and the Ijaw of Niger Delta.

The Nigerian ethnic groups left are referred to as minorities and are relatively found all over the country especially in the middle belt and the north. The Fulani are predominantly Muslim by religion and so are the Hausa people. The Igbo people are predominantly Christian. The Ibibio, Efik, and Annang people are also predominantly Christian. Yoruba people have a near-balanced mixture of both Christianity and Islam.

Other Notables

The indigenous religious practices of Nigeria’s ethnic groups remain an important part of the people’s identity and are usually blended with Christian beliefs and ideals. In terms of language, the Nation is famous for the English language as its official language. The country is also famous for Nigerian Pidgin — which uses English as its primary lexicon. As a matter of fact, a third of the nation’s population speak the Nigerian Pidgin, as it is a simplified form of the English language. The Nigeria Movie Industry is popularly known as ‘Nollywood’ has also been a huge cultural impact on the nation.

Nigerian as well as African development is systematically hidden and embedded in the cultures, resoluteness, and the political drive of the country. It is the cultures that wield the key to integration, identity, growth, oneness, and most importantly, the development of the nation. Because of this, there is a brawny interrelationship between culture, ethnicity, growth, and development. Unknowing to many Nigerians, culture is a viable tool of growth and progress. Developed countries like America, Europe, and China know this and that is why they are constantly doing everything within their power to unite their many cultures for sustainable development.


Every Ethnic group has its own unique cultures visible in the mode of dressing, language, marriage, political system, and even greetings. Ethnic relation is a type of social relation. Before modern civilization, a number of present Nigerian ethnic groups and cultural societies were patterned according to systematic arrangements. As a result, decisions were taken in a village square setting so that new changes accommodate everyone.

A lot of things are deniable today but the profound effect that globalization had on Nigerian cultures is not one of them. With all this taken into consideration, it is undeniable that culture is a prerequisite for any societal growth.

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