Top 10 Poorest States In Nigeria 2023

Despite an abundance of human and natural resources, the poorest states in Nigeria are those that have a clear an obvious lack of development, and whose people live in the worst conditions; only managing to eke out a living. Please note that these states are not considered poor because of the lack of infrastructure or because of a lack of government spending.

These states are considered poor because of the condition of the people. Statistical evidence provided by the National Bureau of Statistics confirm what is already evident before our eyes; these states have suffered economically, and that condition has been worsened by other factors such as insecurity, climatic conditions, and desertification.

While there are several NGOs working with several external humanitarian bodies to improve the lives of the people living in these states, much more needs to be done to make them economically viable because sustainable development can only come from a good, sound economy.

Top 10 Poorest States In Nigeria

1. Sokoto

Sokoto is a state in the extreme northwest of Nigeria; it is right on the border with Niger Republic. It is also an ancient city; the seat of the Sokoto Caliphate. Sokoto State has a population of around 4.5 million people; and the population is predominantly Muslim. The Sultan of Sokoto is the leader of Islam in Nigeria.

It is important to discuss the climate of Sokoto; the state is quite dry, and has an average temperature of around 40 Degrees Celsius. From February to April the temperature is usually warmest; sometimes reaching 45 Degrees Celsius. From Late October to February the weather is quite cold with Hamattan winds which blows in with dust; the dust can dim the sunlight, and further increases the cold.

Agriculture is important in Sokoto; especially in the riverine areas, groundnuts, cotton, and rice are planted, while in the rest of the state, sorghum, millet, cowpeas, and cassava are also planted.

However, there is not enough agriculture to bring sokoto out of poverty; there is very little food security, and the people mostly do the agriculture to subsist, not in a large scale.

2. Bayelsa

Bayelsa is one of the southernmost states in Nigeria; with an extensive shoreline facing the Atlantic Ocean. Bayelsa is one of the newest states in Nigeria, having been created in 1996. This state has much of its borders covered with creeks, there is the perennial issue of flooding to worry about, and it is common to find more boats than bicycles and cars.

Bayelsa has a population of around 2 million people. Fishing is the major economic activity in Bayelsa State, but there is also some agriculture in the form of cultivation of rice, planting of oil palms and so on. Tapping of palm wine, and making of local gin are also important, as well as carving and weaving.

However, oil production has adversely affected the people’s ability to earn a decent living; oil spillages have depleted the waters, making fishing an unviable economic activity. Oil spillages have also spoiled the land, making it unfruitful for farming.

3. Jigawa

Jigawa is located in the northern region of the country; it is also close to the border with Niger Republic. The state was created in 1991 from the northeastern-most region of Kano State. The capital and largest city is Dutse. Jigawa has a population of 4.4 million people.

Some of the economic activities in Jigawa include farming, and the seasonal migration of young workers to nearby states to look for off season work is also quite popular in the state.

The state has been affected by the insecurity that has ravaged the northern part of the country in recent years, and this has no doubt added to the poverty that has bedeviled the state.

4. Kebbi

Kebbi is a state located in the northwestern Nigeria, it also borders Niger Republic and Benin Republic. Despite its large land area the state only has an estimated population of about 4.4 million people.

Agriculture is the major economic activity in Kebbi; the riverine floodplains producing cash crops such as peanuts, cotton, and rice. Sorghum, millet, cowpeas, and onions are also cultivated in some quantity in the state. However, animal husbandry is the most important economic activity; cattle, goats, and sheep are herded.

5. Gombe

Gombe is a state in the northeast of Nigeria; some of its neighbors are Borno, Yobe and Taraba States. Gombe has a population of about 2.3 million people; and Islam is the resounding religion.

Gombe State is a land of diverse topography; there is a mountain range, a valley, savannah land, and a riverine area all in this state.

Gombe is one of the poorest states in Nigeria because there are not enough economic activities in the area. Agriculture is mostly practiced on a subsistence level; it does little to fight food insecurity, or to provide employment.

The insecurity that has plagued the country has also been quite terrible in Gombe State; this insecurity has caused many young people to flee, and many are afraid to enter their farms.

6. Yobe State

Yobe State is located in the northeast of Nigeria. Some of its neighbors are Gombe, Jigawa, Bauchi and Borno States. The capital of Yobe state is Damaturu, while the most populous city is Pokitsum. Yobe State has a population of about 4 million people.

The spate of insecurity has worsened the challenge of poverty in Yobe State; a few years ago this was deemed the most insecure state in the northeast; with incessant attacks by bandits on the civilian population; leading to whole communities being abandoned.

Furthermore, in some areas cattle is being rustled, thus forcing the owners into poverty. Farmers have also not been able to move freely to their farms for fear of attacks; and have in some cases had to abandon their farms altogether.

7. Plateau

Plateau State is located somewhat to the middle of the country. It is made up of a group of hills, and a somewhat flat region on the hills. Plateau State is a place with a population of around 4 million people; although in ancient times they were most warlike tribes who settled in those hills for safety.

Agriculture is practiced in Plateau State; but tourism related activities such as carving, weaving and so on are also practiced on a large scale.

8. Taraba

Taraba State is located in the North Eastern Nigeria. The state is also made up of hills and plateaus; the most popular being the Manbilla Plateau.

The state has a population of around 2.7 million people; and they are made up of around 77 different tribes. The state has a lot of agricultural activity, and there is a lot of tourism as well, but poverty arises because the agriculture is mainly done on subsistence basis.

9. Zamfara

Zamfara State is also in northwest of Nigeria. Some of its neighbors include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe. Zamfara State is big, and has a population of around 10 million people.

Zamfara State has also suffered from the rampart insecurity that has ravaged the northeast of Nigeria; and that has affected agriculture and other economic activities, worsening poverty.   

10. Ebonyi

Ebonyi is in the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, it is the only state from that zone on this list. Some of its neighbors are Benue State, Enugu State, Cross River State, and Abia State.

Ebonyi State is poor because most of the people practice subsistence agriculture. They also travel to other states periodically to work on farms and other kinds of jobs. There is also not much infrastructure in the state.



The poorest states in Nigeria are mostly located in the northeast of the country which has been ravaged by insecurity. While insecurity alone cannot be blamed for the spate of poverty in Nigeria, it has certainly been a contributing factor. Other causes of poverty include a non coordinated agricultural sector which does not maximize the land or time.

It is also important to mention that the manufacturing industry needs to be revamped; especially those that have to do with the agricultural sector.