Group of 4 smiling boys
People of Niger
(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.
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
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.
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.