Top 10 Poorest States In Nigeria [Updated]

This article is focused on the poorest states in Nigeria – the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria as a country is rich in various natural resources of which each state has one or two things to tender as their IGR, but even with the fact that most of these states are rich in resources majority of Nigerian states are very poor to the extent they can not cater for their citizens without getting help from the federal government.

The rate of poverty is measured by the number of those who can’t afford to feed themselves, buy clothing or even afford a shelter, basically those that can’t get essential items.

And this is one of the reasons we have unrest in Nigeria where many groups pick up arms to survive, there various terrorist groups like Boko Haram, Militants, kidnappers, and so on are having their way in the country and this even makes the country unliveable for both citizens and makes it difficult for tourists to come in.

How Many Nigerians are Living Below Poverty Line?

The poverty rate in Nigeria has grown to a level where over 100 million people live on less than $1 per day, food gets much more expensive when the income of the citizens is low. Even with the fact that there has been some growth in the economy of the country, it has no impact on the citizens.

The majority of Nigerians are living in abject poverty according to the National Bureau of Statistics, it was made known that 60.9% of Nigerians are living poverty.

With the riches in the land, Nigeria still can’t get things right as the spread of poverty through every region and states in Nigeria with over 200 million people is quite alarming of which the population should be a factor for riches.

Of recent, it was made known that Nigeria is a failed state as Wikipedia also confirms this.

Being blessed with mineral resources does not mean the country and its people are free of poverty, though it should be a blessing in the case of Nigeria it is like a curse.

Nigeria is rich in coal, crude oil, ore, and also gold with fertile land which can serve the whole continent when agriculture is being exploited to its fullest level but it is so sad Nigerians are still suffering and can’t even afford it to feed themselves.

Nigeria has made crude oil the only focus and source of its wealth and has abandoned every other option that is much more reliable, that isn’t the main issue but the lack of good leaders has rendered the giant of Africa so useless.

As a Nation, it is expected that the 36 states in Nigeria should be generating revenue for the country at large, while some are doing fine others are like a pest.

After making meticulous research that gave an insight into the top 10 poorest states in Nigeria, you will agree that the Nothern region is dragging the nation backward as most people from this region lacks quality education and have a very huge number of corrupt leaders.

The Nothern region of Nigeria is highly affected and around 8 states from the region are listed among the poorest states in Nigeria.

We have collated the data based on the statistics gotten from the National Bureau of Statistics and the results are based on the infrastructural development, security, governance, economic strength, and level of literacy of each state.

Bad governance is the main reason why most of these states became poor while others are based on the mismanagement of available resources.

Top 10 Poorest States In Nigeria

Without much ado, let us go straight to the topic of the day; Below is the list of the poorest states in Nigeria;

1. Sokoto State

The poorest state in Nigeria is Sokoto State, Sokoto state was carved out of the then North-Western State on February 3, 1976, by General Murtala Mohammed.

Sokoto boasts of huge population and the city is the largest city and the capital of the state ranking 81.2% on the poverty level with an overall GDP of $4.82 Billion, and per individual is $1,274.

It is unfortunate that the weather has made activities in the state very difficult so investors do ignore the state. Though agriculture is their main source of income and has been the force behind the economy of the state. Agricultural products being produced in Sokoto state are cotton, groundnuts, cash crops, rice, and many more.

2. Kastina State

Katsina State is the second poorest state in Nigeria as the state lacks raw materials and that has been a big hindrance for the state to generate income as no one will dare to invest in it.

Katsina state is known to always borrow and has much debt to cover as within the space of 6 months the state has a debt of about 34 billion Naira.

Even though Katsina state is among the poorest states in Nigeria, the state is the center of education and culture, one the country is always proud of.

3. Adamawa State

Of course, it shouldn’t surprise you to see Adamawa on the top list of poorest states in Nigeria as the state is one of those badly hit by the Boko Haram insurgency so much isn’t even expected from Adamawa state.

The level of poverty in Adamawa is very high as the poverty level is around 74.2%, almost everyone here is in deep poverty.

Adamawa state has seen the worst as insurgency activities really crippled the economy of the state and many homes were destroyed confining most families into various IDP camps.

4. Gombe State

Gombe state has over 11 local government areas and its main capital city is Gombe, this state made it the fourth poorest state in Nigeria.

The insurgency in the north also Affected Gombe state as the state has its fair share of the activities of Boko Haram, also the mismanagement of funds by the leaders and public office holders has placed the state in a dangerous position as economic growth declines each day.

Gombe state poverty level as of the time this article was published is around 73.2%, the people here are extremely poor.

5. Jigawa State

Jigawa state also has its share of poverty and is ranked the fifth poorest state in Nigeria. The state is severely hit by poverty and also is located in the northern region of Nigeria.

Jigawa state poverty level is ranked at 72.1%. Insecurity is the major reason for this as the state is a border to Yobe state which has been receiving countless attacks from the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists, even with this setback, Jigawa state is still ranked one of the safest states in Northern Nigeria.

Though, we cant actually condemn the state because Jigawa state doesn’t have natural resources that are of good value coupled with the influx of displaced people, politicians and the security officers are to be blamed for the situation Jigawa state finds itself.

6. Plateau State

Plateau State has a population of over 3 million inhabitants and is rated as the 6th poorest state in Nigeria. The capital city of Plateau state is Jos which is one of the finest cities in Nigeria.

Plateau State is the twelfth largest state in Nigeria and is positioned at the center of the map of Nigeria and has its poverty level at 71%.

The state shares its border with Kaduna State towards the north and towards the East has its border shred with Nassarawa State, Benue towards the South.

The state is rich in tin and there have been massive mining activities to explore the fine resources of the state. Not that alone, the state is also attractive and has been a top choice to tourists though that has reduced due to attacks that occurred recently.

7. Ebonyi State

Ebonyi state is the poorest state in the South and is located in the Eastern region of the country, it is also the only southeastern state to make it on the list of poorest states in Nigeria.

It is very shocking to see an Eastern state among the poorest states in Nigeria as the Easterners are known to be very industrious and productive, though this is attributed to the high level of illiteracy in the state.

Bad governance is also a major factor to consider as the state has not been lucky with good leaders. Ebonyi state is rated 70.6% on the poverty scale.

There is one thing worthy of emulation about the state as the state has started mass production of agricultural produce most especially rice and we hope the state will drop sooner on the list of poorest states in Nigeria.

8. Bauchi State

Just like every other northern state we’ve listed, it is evident that the major reason for poverty in the Northern region is due to insecurity and the emergence of different terrorist groups, Bauchi state is not an exemption.

Once there is a heavy presence of insecurity, then you should expect poverty as the end result. The state is not left out of economic instability, insecurity, corruption, and bad governance.

Since 1965, the population of the people of Bauchi has drastically increased eightfold as there is no proper education on child spacing/family planning and the level of education is generally poor in the state.

Lack of employment, good health care, employment opportunities, education, and infrastructural development has been missing in this state.

9. Kebbi State

Kebbi State is one of the poorest states in Nigeria according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the state almost escapes being on this list but it is unfortunate the state is listed here.

The state is known to be a frontier in agriculture as it is known to depend on the production and the trading of cash crops like cowpeas, tobacco, gum Arabia, cotton, groundnuts, and grains which has been really helping the state in the generation of revenue.

The state is also doing great in trading hiding skins placing Nigeria on the list of favorites for the Moroccan red leather.

Kebbi state poverty level is rated at 72% and the IGR has been increasing each year.

10. Zamfara State

Zamfara State is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria but this cant is maintained as insurgency attacks are also one thing that the state needs to tackle.

Zamfara state’s poverty level is placed at 70.8% which has been the main reason why the state appears on our list.

Poverty and underdevelopment coupled with insecurity have been dragging the state backward.


Generally, the majority of states in Nigeria are poor, even in states that are rich like the Niger Delta states or some of the South-Western and Eastern regions we still have many people that are poor.

Mind you, there are states that are also poor in infrastructural development, literacy level, governance, economy but basically, the states we have listed are poor because of bad governance and insecurity.

We hope the listed states will improve as the year runs by and we wish insecurity in Nigeria will be history.