Top 10 Poorest States in Nigeria

Nigeria is a country located in West Africa and is divided into 36 states and one Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which is where the capital city, Abuja, is situated. The 36 states are further grouped into six geopolitical zones for administrative purposes. Each state in Nigeria has its own government and is semi-autonomous, with its governor and state legislature responsible for governance within its territory.

The country, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, is a land of diversity with rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources. However, despite its economic potential, there are regions within Nigeria that face significant challenges in terms of development and poverty alleviation.

Here are top 10 poorest states in Nigeria, we will examine the factors contributing to their economic conditions and exploring potential avenues for improvement.

Understanding Poverty in Nigeria

Before going into the specifics of the poorest states, it’s essential to understand the broader context of poverty in Nigeria. The country faces various socioeconomic challenges, including income inequality, inadequate infrastructure, political instability, and limited access to quality education and healthcare. These factors contribute to disparities in wealth distribution across different regions.

Criteria for Ranking

The classification of the poorest states in Nigeria is typically based on indicators such as income per capita, poverty rates, literacy levels, healthcare access, and infrastructure development. The following list highlights the top 10 states that consistently rank as the poorest in the country:

Zamfara State

Zamfara State, located in the northwestern region of Nigeria, often tops the list of poorest states. The state faces challenges such as high poverty rates, limited educational facilities, and inadequate healthcare services. Additionally, recurring security issues have hampered economic activities and development efforts.

Yobe State

Yobe State, also in the north, struggles with poverty and underdevelopment. The state has limited infrastructure, low literacy rates, and high unemployment, exacerbating the poverty levels among its residents.

Adamawa State

Adamawa, located in the northeastern part of Nigeria, is known for its agricultural potential. However, the state still grapples with poverty due to factors such as insufficient investment in infrastructure and educational facilities.

 Gombe State

Gombe State, like many others in the region, faces challenges in economic diversification and industrial development. The state’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, with limited growth in other sectors.

Jigawa State

Jigawa State is predominantly agricultural but struggles with poverty and limited access to basic amenities. Efforts to boost economic development are ongoing but require substantial investments and strategic planning.

Kebbi State

Kebbi State, despite its agricultural potential, experiences high poverty rates and underdevelopment. The state’s economy relies heavily on subsistence farming, limiting its overall growth prospects.

Bauchi State

Bauchi State, located in the northeastern part of Nigeria, faces similar challenges as other states in the region. Limited infrastructure, inadequate healthcare, and low literacy levels contribute to the state’s poverty status.

 Niger State

Niger State, situated in the central region of Nigeria, grapples with poverty despite its natural resources. The state’s economy is largely agrarian, with significant potential for industrialization.

 Sokoto State

Sokoto State, in the northwestern part of Nigeria, is known for its textile industry. However, poverty remains a significant issue, with limited access to education and healthcare services.

Taraba State

Taraba State, located in the northeastern region, is characterized by its diverse cultural heritage. However, poverty rates are high due to inadequate infrastructure and limited economic opportunities.

Challenges and the Way Forward

The poorest states in Nigeria face multifaceted challenges that require comprehensive strategies for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Some of the key areas that need urgent attention include:

  • Investment in Infrastructure: Improving roads, electricity, and water supply can spur economic activities and attract investments.
  • Education and Healthcare: Enhancing access to quality education and healthcare services is crucial for human capital development and poverty reduction.
  • Agricultural Development: Given the agrarian nature of many of these states, investing in modern agricultural practices and value addition can boost incomes and create employment opportunities.
  • Security: Addressing security challenges is paramount to fostering a conducive environment for economic growth and development.
  • Governance and Transparency: Ensuring good governance and accountability in resource allocation and utilization is essential for sustainable development.


In conclusion, the socioeconomic conditions of Nigeria’s poorest states reflect systemic challenges that require coordinated efforts from government, private sector, and civil society stakeholders. By addressing these challenges holistically and implementing targeted interventions, Nigeria can harness its vast potential and uplift millions of its citizens out of poverty.

Understanding the nuances of poverty and underdevelopment in these states is critical for formulating effective policies and programs that can bring about positive change and improve the lives of millions of Nigerians.

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