Life in Yoruban Society

Some Yoruba communities are city-states, encompassing just one urban area with a rural hinterland. However, most consist of several towns and many villages.

The economy of Yorubaland is based on a vigorous combination of farming and trading which ranges from local marketing of farm produce to international dealing. Typically, modern day Yoruba towns consist of farmers, traders, office workers and professionals. The division between town and countryside that is so familiar in Britain is not so apparent in Yorubaland and there is comparatively little commuting into town to work.

Daily life centres on the farm and its products, just as it did in earlier centuries. The major staple product is yam, but items such as cassava, maize, and rice are also grown for local consumption. In addition, a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, onions, okra, and eggplant and also harvested, traded, and consumed. The major cash crops are cocoa and oil palm, as well as kola nuts. Cotton was an important product in the 19th century but is harvested to a latter extent today.