Büşra Eroğlu (Bahçeşehir University, Turkey) and Zafer Gedikli (Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2939-2.ch003


Niger is a Sub-Saharan African country, classified under the list of low-income countries. Niger gained its independence from France in 1960 and thus far, four military coups have been occurred in the country. Political instability, high population growth rate and severe weather conditions are the major factors directly affecting Niger's economy. In this chapter, socioeconomic, sociocultural and sociopolitical structures of the country are presented by relevant information and data. In conclusion, the appropriate and applicable policy recommendations are explained in consideration of previous sections.
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Population And Demographic Structure

Niger has one of the highest population growth rates in the world (World Bank, 2016). According to World Bank data, population of the country has reached 19.9 million in 2015 with 4,03% population growth rate. Niger’s population consists of mostly the young and children. Half of the population is between 0-14 ages, 47% of population is between 15-64 ages and rest of the population (3%) is older than 65. According to World Bank data (2016), the country has the highest fertility rate (7.6 children per woman) in the world. Moreover, population distribution by gender is almost equal to each other; female population is 49.6% of the total population. Eighty-one percent of total population lives in rural areas. Therefore, it can be said that Niger is a rural country. Number of people living in the capital city constitutes 5% of the total population. The changes in population and population growth, between 2000 and 2015, are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Total population and population growth rate (2000-2015)

Source: World Bank, 2016.

People live in Niger are called Nigerien. The community comprises of many ethnic groups. The largest ethnic group is Hausa, constituting 53.1% of the population. Other ethnic groups range from the largest to the lowest as follow: Zarma/Songai (21.2%), Tuareg (11%), Fulani (6.5%), Kanuri (5.9%), Gurma (0.8%), Arabs (0.4%), Tubu (0.4%), other (0.9%). 80 percent of Nigeriens are Muslim (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016).1


Sociocultural Structure

Niger was colonized by France until 1960. Therefore, French effects can be seen on Niger’s culture. The official language of the country is French but several different languages are also accepted as national languages such as Hausa, Zarma/Sonhrai, Arab, Fulani (Présidence de la République du Niger, Demographie, 2014).

According to Human Development Report 2015, Niger ranked 188th among 188 countries. There are three basic components for HDI measurement (Human Development Index), life expectancy as long and healthy life, mean and expected years of schooling as access to knowledge and Gross National Income (GNI) as standard living of country (UNDP, Human Development Report, 2015).

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