NBS Publishes General Household Survey Report 2015-16


Tuesday, December 13, 2016 9:55  AM /NBS

Executive Summary

Survey Objectives and Design
The Nigerian General Household Survey (GHS) is implemented in collaboration with the World Bank Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team as part of the Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (ISA) program and was revised in 2010 to include a panel component (GHS-Panel).

The objectives of the GHS-Panel include the development of an innovative model for collecting agricultural data, inter-institutional collaboration, and comprehensive analysis of welfare indicators and socio-economic characteristics.

The GHS-Panel is a nationally representative survey of 5,000 households, which are also representative of the geopolitical zones (at both the urban and rural level). The households included in the GHS-Panel are a sub-sample of the overall GHS sample households.

This report presents findings from the third wave of the GHS-Panel, which was implemented in 2015–2016.

Demographic Characteristics

The survey finds that average household size is 5.9 and 4.9 persons in rural and urban areas, respectively. The numbers in this wave of the survey do not reflect any significant change in average household size at the national level since Wave 2 of the survey conducted 3 years before in 2012/13.

Regionally, the greatest changes occurred in the North East and North West where the average number of household members increased by 0.6 and 0.5 persons respectively.

The dependency ratio in rural areas (1.1%) is slightly higher than that in urban areas (0.9%) where it has remained unchanged since Wave 2.


The survey captures educational outcomes of household members through self-reported literacy, attendance, and attainment, as well as constraints to school enrollment such as proximity to school and school expenses.

Similar to Wave 2, the present survey results show that the highest literacy rates for both males and females occurs among those between 15 to 19 years of age. Between the ages of 5 and 14, 68.7 percent of male children, and 65.4 percent of female children, are enrolled in a type of primary or secondary school; however, government school enrollment far exceeds private.

The most cited reasons why children are not enrolled in school are no interest, too young to be in school, and school too far from households dwelling.

The questionnaire gathers information on recent illnesses, disability, healthcare utilization, and child anthropometrics. The data shows 13.7 and 15.2 percent of men and women, respectively, reported having an illness in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

For women over 65 years, this number jumps to 38.9 percent. Similar to Wave 2, individuals who reported being ill in the 4 weeks preceding the survey were most likely to seek care at a hospital (27.9% for men and 28.3% for women) or with a chemist (33.2% for men and 35.5% for women).

On average, households allocate a larger proportion of health expenditure to drugs (74.7% for male and 71.3% for females) and consultation (14.5% for males and 15.6% for females).

More than 50 percent of households live less than 30 minutes from the nearest hospital or health facility, though a small fraction lives more than 2 hours from any sufficient healthcare services. Child anthropometric results indicate that 39.4 percent of boys and 35.4 percent of girls are stunted (low height-for-age).

Generally, stunting and underweight prevalence estimates are found to be higher in rural than in urban areas.

Housing Characteristics 
The GHS-Panel also collected data on housing tenure and characteristics. Findings show that over 68.5 percent of households own their dwelling and 16.6 percent of households rent their homes. Although 63.6 percent of households live in homes with 3 or more rooms, the quality of the building material remains poor.

Nationally, more than 59.3 percent of households have electricity (for an average of 35.8 hours per week), with no considerable change from Wave 2. However, there is a large disparity in access between urban and rural areas: 86 percent of urban households have electricity compared to only 41.1 percent of rural households. 

Household Assets 
Households were asked if they owned various assets including farm implements, home furniture, durables, entertainment equipment, and automobiles, among many others.

About 94 percent of households own a mattress, 82 percent own a bed, and 76 percent own mats. The data suggest that rudimentary farm implements, such as hoes and cutlasses, are considerably more common than modern tools such as tractors and pickup trucks. 

The survey collects information on households’ access to information and communication technology (ICT) and patterns of usage. Findings reveal that nearly all persons 10 years or older (89%) have access to a mobile phone.

Access the internet is more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas (29.0% versus 9.8% of those 10 years or older); the most common uses are to send and receive emails (45.8%) and engage in educational activities (18.4%).

Consumption, Food Security and Shocks 
The survey included questions on food and non-food expenditure, food shortages, shocks, and coping mechanisms. Overall oil and fat products along with grains and flours are the most commonly consumed food items with over 96 percent of households consuming food items in these groups.

This is closely followed by vegetables (96.7%), and meat, fish and animal products (88.9%). Fruits and dairy products continue to be reported as the least prevalent food consumed.

While grains and flour are the most commonly consumed food group, average household expenditure is highest for meat, fish, and animal products. Figures from the present survey show an increase in consumption of the most popular food groups compared with the values obtained for Wave 2 of the GHS-Panel.

Soap and mobile recharge cards are the most common non-food items consumed by households, with close to 9 out of 10 households reporting soap purchases and 78.3 percent reporting expenditures on recharge cards. Mobile recharge cards also account for the highest national mean expenditure, with a monthly average household expenditure of N17,413.

Households were also asked about their experience with food security and their history of economic shocks. Similar to findings in Wave 2, reported food shortages from this wave are seasonal, with January and February posing the biggest risk of food insecurity.

Twenty-six percent of households reported having to reduce the number of meals taken in the past 7 days, with urban households more likely to have reduced their meal intake than rural households (29.8% versus 24.1%).

Major shocks that negatively affected households include: increase in the price of food items (12.4%), death or disability of a working household member (5.7%), increase in the price of inputs (3.6%), and nonfarm enterprise failure (3.1%).

The most common coping mechanisms reported include receipt of assistance from family and friends (24%) and reduction in food consumption (23.6%).

Income Generating Activities, Labor and Time Use
According to survey results, agriculture is the most common income-generating activity, followed by working in a household nonfarm enterprise, and then wage employment. Among working individuals aged 5 to 14, agriculture is the most prevalent income-generating activity.

The vast majority of persons with no work activity in the past 7 days are students or women performing household chores and child care. Sixty-seven percent of households operate at least one nonfarm enterprise.

The most common types of nonfarm enterprises were retail trade (59.0%) and provision of personal services (10.2%). Households are most likely to acquire the start-up capital for these enterprises through household savings (46%) or friends and relatives (29.1%).

Household members were also asked about time spent collecting fuel wood and water and, as might be expected, more time is allocated to these activities in rural areas than in urban areas.

The data show that, nationally, men and women who perform these tasks spend similar amounts of time doing so, though men were less likely to collect firewood than women.

Regionally, the difference between male and female participation is generally greater. For example, in the North Central region, 71.3 percent of women collected firewood the previous day compared to only 42.5 percent of men. 

The survey’s agriculture modules cover crop farming and livestock rearing. Results show that each agricultural household holds an average of 2.6 plots at an average of 0.5 hectares in size.

Nationally, only 7 percent of male-managed plots and 2.2 percent of female-managed plots are owned through outright purchase, though almost 31.6 percent of female-managed plots in the North West region were acquired through outright purchased.

The most common means of acquiring land is through family inheritance—71 percent of male-managed plots and 69 percent of female managed plots are acquired through this method.

Fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides are applied in approximately 47.3 percent, 30.5 percent, and 20.7 percent of plots, respectively. Purchased seeds and animal traction are also common forms of agricultural input.

The survey data indicates that goat is the most common animal owned among livestock owning households across all regions (67.3%).

Overall, male-headed households own more animals than female-headed households.

The majority of livestock owning households reported slaughtering (29%) or selling (28.5%) livestock.

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