National Bureau of Statistics: 12th COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released its latest findings from the 12th round of the COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS) conducted between April 10-27, 2021.


The NLPS, launched in April 2020 with support from the World Bank, is a monthly survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,950 households to monitor the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and other shocks.


According to the NBS, “The most important innovation in the twelfth round was to collect information from a youth (someone aged 15-25 years old) randomly selected from each household. This provides a deeper understanding of the aspirations, employment, and willingness to be vaccinated of this age cohort.”


Youth in Education

At the time of the twelfth round interviews, more than half of the youth (15-25 years old) were attending school or training, while 35% of them were working and 13% were neither attending school nor working.


Around 64% of Nigerian youths who were attending school/training in April 2021 were enrolled in secondary levels of education. Of these, 78% indicated that they were planning to pursue further education/training immediately after completing their current level of education/training, while about 6% of them plan on starting a business, 6% plan to work as a trainee or apprentice, and 4% plan on working as an employee.


In the case of youths enrolled in Quaranic education (that account for 11% of youth attending school), more than a third would like to start a business and another third would like to continue studying.


When youths were asked the ideal level of formal education that they would like to complete, more than half of them would like to finish university (undergraduate), while a further 29% would like to complete postgraduate studies.


However, there are some differences by gender – while one in three male youths would like to complete post-graduate studies, fewer than one in four females would like to reach this level.


There are also stark differences in aspirations when comparing youth from the poorest households with youth from the richest households: Almost half of youths living in a household in the richest quintile would like to complete post-graduate studies, while only 12% of youths living in households in the poorest quintile would like to complete this level of education.

Conversely, about 4% of young people from the richest quintile aspire to reach only secondary education, compared to 20% of young people from the poorest quintile. The most common constraint reported by youths on achieving their ideal level of education was lack of money- 85% of Nigerian youths indicated this as one of their main constraints. Looking across the gender divide, 93% of young males reported lack of money as one of the main limitations, followed by lack of connections or acquaintances. Similarly, 75% of the female youths reported lack of money as one of the main constraints, followed by domestic obligations (11%).


Source of Income

The main sources of income (money) for young people in Nigeria was their regular job (47%) or their parents and/or family (41%). Youth’s main source of income varies across gender, with 57% of young males reporting that their main source is their regular job while 50% of young females reported that their parents and/or family was their main source.


Differences in income/money sources across consumption quintiles are also considerable: 64% of youths in the poorest 20 percent of households rely on income from their regular job while only 38% of youths from the richest 20 percent of households reported this source as their main income source while relying more heavily on parents or family for income.

This is not surprising given that most young people from poor households were already working by age 12 when – as per Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education policy – they should still be in Junior Secondary School.



Young Nigerians also continue to aspire to good professional jobs; these aspirations seem to be misaligned with the state of Nigerian labor market, especially following the COVID-19 crisis, which could result in widespread disappointment and frustration without appropriate policies. When asked what their dream job is, the most commonly reported was trading or business (22%). It is the most common even among the different subgroups of youth, such as by sex or consumption quintile.


Other common dream jobs reported were medicine, engineering and tailoring. There are some differences, however, across gender of youths that need mention. While 14% of young males aspires to be engineers, only 1% of young females dream to have this job. In addition, 11% of young females aspire to become nurses, while virtually none of the young males consider nursing as their dream job.


There are also differences in young people’s job aspirations across the different consumption quintiles. While 15% of the young people in the richest quintile dream of becoming engineers, only 1% of those in the poorest quintile dream of this profession.


Conversely, 11% of the youths in the poorest quintile aspire to become soldiers, compared to virtually 0% of the youth in the richest quintile. Furthermore, 92% percent of the youth in the richest consumption quintile believe that they are likely or very likely to achieve their dream job. In the case of youth in the poorest quintile, this figure is only 63%. This disparity reveals the different perceptions that young people have regarding their probability of reaching their goals.


Another relevant metric to define youth aspirations is to whether they know someone who holds their dream job. These persons would generally serve as role models to young people when they are considering their future profession. More than two-thirds of Nigerian youth report knowing someone in their community who has their dream job, but 47% of them know of a woman in their community that has their dream job. About 63% of the young females in Nigeria reported that they know a woman in their community that is currently in their dream job.



The vast majority of Nigerian youth reported that they would agree to be vaccinated (89%) should an approved vaccine become available in the country at zero cost. Willingness to be vaccinated among the youth was higher in rural (92%) than in urban (80%) areas, which is surprising given that COVID-19 is more likely to spread in more densely populated urban areas.

These results largely mimic the willingness to be vaccinated among main household respondents (not specifically youths) from previous rounds of the NLPS (Round 6 & 10).



Amaka E. Nliam/NBS

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