Demographic Analysis of Child labor in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria


  • Victor Adekunle Owoyomi University of Lagos
  • Wole Alfred Olatunji Curtin University of Technology
  • John Lekan Oyefara University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos



 Official data from the 2006 Nigerian population census indicate that nearly half of the Nigerian population is aged below 17 years, two-third of who are 6–17 years old. Additional evidence indicates three out of eight children in Nigeria, aged 6–17 years old, engage in child labour, and 40 percent of these are out of school.  Nigeria contributes the highest incidence of child labour globally, mostly in hazardous situations; Nigeria alone contributes to more than 25% of child labour issues in the region, and more than 5% globally. Methodology: The demographic assessment of child labour in Nigeria has been reported only poorly. This study examines the correlation between family size, sibling composition, birth order and child labour activities in the Lagos metropolis, Nigeria’s commercial capital city, West Africa’s commercial capital, and Africa’s most populated urban area. In a cross-sectional survey that involved a four-stage sampling technique, 400 respondents, aged 6-17 years old, took part in the survey. Results: Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance (ANOVA) tools were used to analyse the variables. Findings show a correlation between family size, sibling composition and birth order and child labour. Conclusion: The study draws insights from the failings of extant government policies on family planning and public orientation programs. In particular, a large family size could be detrimental to the economic well-being of children. 


Alvi, E., & Dendir, S. 2011. Sibling Differences in School Attendance and Child labour. Oxford development studies 39, 285-313.

Balfour, R., Mitchell, C., & Moletsane, R. 2008. Troubling contexts: Toward a generative theory of rurality as education research. Journal of Rural and Community Development 3, 95-107.

Boyden, J., Ling, B., & Myers, W. 1998. "What Works for Working Children," UNICEF and Save the Children Sweden, Smedjebacken.

Buchmann C. 2000. Family structure, parental perceptions, and child labor in Kenya: What factors determine who is enrolled in school? Social Forces;78(4):1349–1378.

Chesnokova, T., & Vaithianathan, R. 2008. Lucky Last? Intra-Sibling Allocation of Child Labor. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy8, 1-30.

Edmonds, E. V. 2006. Understanding Sibling Differences in Child Labour. Journal of Population Economics 19, 795-821.

Edmonds, E.V. 2008. Child labor. In: Schultz TP, Strauss J, editors. Handbook of Development Economics. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Emerson, P., & Souza, A. P. 2003. Is There a Child Labor Trap? Inter-Generational Persistence of Child labor in Brazil. Economic Development and Cultural Change 51, 375-398.

Fawole, O. I., J., A. A., & Osungbade, K. O. 2003. Interventions for violence prevention among female workers in motor parks in south western nigeria: a review of effectiveness African Journal of Reproductive Health7, 71-82.

Fetuga, B. M., Njokama, F. O., & Olowu, A. O. 2005. Prevalence, types and demographic features of child labour among school children in Nigeria. BMC International Health and Human Rights5, DOI: 10.1186/1472-698X-5-2.

Grootaert, C., & Kanbur, R. 1995. Child Labor: A Review World Bank's Policy Research Working Papers Report No 1454,

Jing, L. William, H.D. & Luis, R. 2014. The Declining Effect of Sibling Size on Children's Education in Costa Rica. Demographic Research 31,1431-1454.

Nina, T. & Masaru, I. 2010. The Impact of Poverty and Policy on Child Labour in Indonesia.Discussion Paper.JEL Classification:138,015.

Olatunji, O. A., & Ajayi, S. O. 2016. Rurality, Nigeria's massification policy on access to basic education and turnover causations amongst teachers. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education 26, 3-17.

Rodgers, J. L., Cleveland, H. H., Van Den Oord, E., & Rowe, D. 2000. Resolving the debate over birth order, family size, and intelligence. The American Psychologist 55, 599-612.

Webbink, E., Smits, J., & de Jong, E. 2011. Hidden child labor: Determinants of housework and family business work in 16 developing countries. World Development.

Wolfe, D. A. 1999. "Child abuse: Implications for child development and psychopathology," Sage Publications.