Research Brief: Higher economic status in Nigeria is linked to higher risk of childhood violence


There is limited evidence on the relationship between violence against children and economic status in low- and middle-income countries. Data from the 2014 Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) were used to understand whether household economic status was associated with risk of violence against children. Measures of household economic status included information about material resources in the household, such as flooring and roofing materials and transportation. Households were grouped into three categories depending on their economic status which included high, middle and low economic status. These categories were then used to compare the prevalence and risk of childhood violence in the various groups.

Key Points from the Report

  • About half of youth experienced physical violence, 17.6% experienced emotional violence, and 18.5% experienced sexual violence.
  • Females were more likely to experience sexual violence than males.
  • Children in highest economic status group were more likely to experience sexual, physical, and emotional violence than children in the lowest economic status group.

What is added by this report?

This study found that Nigerian youth in the highest economic status group are at an increased risk for all types of violence compared to youth in the lowest economic status group. Children are likely at greater risk of experiencing violence in the highest economic status group for several reasons that are complex and may be unique to the Nigerian context. For example, those within the higher economic status group are more likely to go out of the home to school and other activities, which puts them in contact with more possible predators.


*Footnote: some variation between prevalence estimates from published papers and country reports may exist. This variation reflects slight differences in the subsamples and variables used in the analyses.

Page last reviewed: March 14, 2019