Young people aged 15–24 years constitute a huge proportion of Nigeria’s population and have enormous potential for socio-economic development. However, the fulfillment of that potential is dependent on how society meets their present needs and aspirations. We examined the evidence from 2003 to 2013 to establish whether there has been improvement in social conditions and opportunities for young people in Nigeria. We used the 2003, 2008 and 2013 Nigerian DHS data to estimate young people’s wellbeing. Indicators of wellbeing were: unemployment rate, uneducated and unemployed young people, literacy rate; support for schooling, young people not graduating secondary school on time, young people in households where either parent lacks secondary education, teenage pregnancy and young people not covered by health insurance. We used bi-variate statistics and logistic regression to highlight determinants of wellbeing. Unemployment rate increased from 57.0 % in 2008 to 59.2 % in 2013 while the proportion of those who were both uneducated and unemployed was 12.6 % in 2013 (vs. 13.0 and 14.1 % in 2003 and 2008, respectively). Only 0.6 and 0.5 % of young people received support for schooling in 2008 and 2013, respectively. Literacy rate increased from 50.9 % (measured for only women) in 2003 to 71.0 % in 2013. Nearly all young people were not covered by health insurance. There is improvement in young people’s wellbeing during the under considered, although progress is still unsatisfactory, with more efforts required.