Due to the difficult nature conditions, the population is very unevenly distributed. The population is concentrated in the southern savannah area, where the largest cities are located.
Despite the population concentration to the southern parts, the country is West Africa’s least urbanized country; In 2019, only 16 percent of the population lived in one of the country’s cities, of which Niamey (1.1 million residents, 2012), Zinder (253,800) and Maradi (188,000) are the largest. According to UN estimates, about 1/5 of the population is nomads.
According to Countryaah, the population of Niger is half of the agricultural hausa (53 percent), living along the border with Nigeria. The other agricultural peoples are djerma-songhai (21 percent) in the Niger valley and kanuri (4 percent), both of whom speak Nilo-Saharan languages, and baqqara (2 percent) on Lake Chad. The latter speak Shuwa-Arabic dialects. The livestock-eating fulani (7 percent), who speak the Niger-Congo language, are predominantly in the country’s east, while nomadic camel-eating Tuaregs (11 percent) are concentrated in the Aïr massif. In addition, there are a few thousand Frenchmen living in the country.
- AllCityPopulation: Find Niger demographics including latest population, life expectancy, age structure, and urbanization.
The official language is French. Among the approximately 20 indigenous languages, three of the major African language families are represented: Afro-Asian languages (including Hausa and Tuaregic), Niger-Congo languages (including Fulani) and Nilo-Saharan languages (including Kanuri and Songhai). Hausa, which is spoken as a mother tongue by about half the population, and songhai, which is spoken by about a quarter, are also used as interpersonal languages. Compare Population above.
In Niger, (2010) more than 90% of the population are Muslims. Most of these are Sunni Muslims while a minority, about 5%, are Shiites. Islam came to this part of Africa in the 15th century partly with the expansion of the Songhairik west, partly with merchants from Mahgreb and Egypt. Others who later contributed to the spread of Islam in the country were Tuaregs in the 17th century and Sufic fraternities in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Christians are few in Niger, according to some estimates only about 60,000 people. The Christians (both Catholics and Protestants) are found mainly in southern Niger and among families of colonial origin, but also among immigrants from neighboring countries such as Benin, Togo and Ghana. Bahai has a few thousand followers mainly located to Niamey and the Niger River’s West Bank, which borders Burkina Faso. Almost 5% are mainly practitioners of indigenous African religion. Various communities with links to the Pentecostal movement have about 10,000 members in Niger.
In the 2010 constitution, and also in previous constitutions, the distinction between state and religion is emphasized. Both the Constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, which also works in practice.
The following days are national holidays: Mawlid (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday), Easter Day, Id al-fitr, Laylat al-Qadr (the day the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Muhammad), Id al-adha (in memory of Abraham being prepared to sacrificing his son), Muharram’s (the first month of the Islamic calendar), the first day and the Christmas day.