Group of 4 smiling boys
Group of 4 smiling boys
Ethnic groups
Ethnic groups
Tuareg man
Tuareg man
Hausa man
Hausa man

People of Niger

Nigeriens (people of Niger) are typically friendly, considerate and tolerant of others. Men, women and children – young and old alike – smile and wave to strangers passing through the countryside. Even though many of them are very poor, they have a deep sense of "belonging" and take pride in who they are.

How many?

Niger is home to nearly 13.5 million people. About 50 per cent of the population is under the age of 18. By the year 2015 the population is expected to rise to 19.3 million. A high birth rate (the average Nigerien woman has 7.9 births) and the youthful population cause the high annual population growth rate of 3.2 per cent.

Ethnic groups

Nigeriens are more likely to say, "I am Hausa" or "I am Djerma", than they are to say, "I am Nigerien." This is because they identify more with their particular ethnic group than with their country. Many young people, in order to fit in with modern city life are giving up their ethnic traditions.

Religion

Religion is important to Nigeriens. Almost everyone follows the religion of Islam (88.7%). Animism (11%), traditional beliefs about spirits who help, heal or harm, is strong in rural communities and often mixed with Islam. Only a small number of people practise Christianity (0.3%).

Where people live

About 90 per cent of all Nigeriens live within 160 kilometres of the southern border. Most people live in rural areas – over 75 per cent. Niamey, the capital, is Niger's largest city.