The National Bureau of Statistics said 60.9% of Nigerians in 2010 were living in "absolute poverty" - this figure had risen from 54.7% in 2004.
Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer yet Nigerians were getting poorer. Despite its vast resources, Nigeria ranks among the most unequal countries in the world. Nigerians themselves understand they are consider themselves are getting poorer. In 2010, 93.9% of respondents felt themselves to be poor compared to 75.5% six years earlier.
The NBS said that relative poverty was most apparent in the north of the country, with Sokoto state's poverty rate the highest at 86.4%. In the north-west and north-east of the country poverty rates were recorded at 77.7% and 76.3% respectively, compared to the south-west at 59.1%.
BBC's Richard Hamilton says it is perhaps no surprise that extremist groups, such as Boko Haram, continue to have an appeal in northern parts of the country, where poverty and underdevelopment are at their most severe.