Nitrogen Valence Electrons (And How to Find them?)

nitrogen valence electrons

So you have seen the above image by now, right?

Awesome! You can see that nitrogen has 5 valence electrons.

But how can you say that Nitrogen has 5 valence electrons
How can you find these valence electrons?

Let’s discuss this in short.

Nitrogen has 5 valence electrons because there are 5 electrons present in the outermost shell of the Nitrogen (N) atom.

Now let’s see how you can easily find the valence electrons of Nitrogen atom (N).

If you don’t want to read the texts, then you can also watch this video.

How to find the Valence Electrons? (2 Methods)

In order to find the valence electrons of Nitrogen atom (N), you can use two methods.

Method 1: From the Periodic Table

how many valence electrons does nitrogen have

To find out the valence electrons of Nitrogen, you have to see the position of nitrogen in the periodic table.

More specifically, you have to see the group wise position of Nitrogen element in the periodic table.

From the above image, you can see that the Nitrogen (N) is present in the group 15 of periodic table.
(Note: Group 15 is also called group 5A).

So, as the nitrogen element is present in group 15, it has 5 valence electrons.

In this way, by knowing the position of nitrogen element in periodic table, you can easily find its valence electrons.

Now let’s see another method for finding the number of valence electrons in nitrogen.

Method 2: From the Electron Configuration

If you want to find the valence electrons of nitrogen from its electron configuration, then you should know its electron configuration first.

Now there are many methods to write the electron configurations, but here I will show you the easiest method, i.e by using Aufbau principle.

Aufbau principle: The Aufbau principle simply states that the orbitals with the lower energy are filled first and then the orbitals with higher energy levels are filled.

According to the Aufbau principle, the orbitals are filled in the following order:
1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s, 4f, 5d, 6p, 7s, 5f, 6d, 7p, and so on.

Also the maximum number of electrons that can be accommodated in s, p, d & f orbitals are mentioned in the below table.

OrbitalsMaximum capacity of electrons [1]

Now let’s try to find the electron configuration of Nitrogen by using the Aufbau principle.

Electron Configuration of Nitrogen:

Follow the steps mentioned below to get the electron configuration of Nitrogen.

  • To write the electron configuration of nitrogen, we should first know the total number of electrons present in a nitrogen atom.
  • The nitrogen atom has a total of 7 electrons because its atomic number is 7 and it is a neutral atom. [2] 
  • Now we have to fill these 7 electrons in the atomic orbitals according to the Aufbau principle.
  • According to the Aufbau principle, the electrons will be filled first in 1s orbital, then in 2s orbital, then in 2p orbital, and so on…
  • So in the nitrogen atom, the first 2 electrons will be filled in s-orbital (because s-orbital can hold only 2 electrons).
  • Similarly, the next two electrons of a nitrogen atom will be filled in 2s orbital, and the remaining 3 electrons will be filled in 2p orbital (because p-orbitals can hold a maximum of 6 electrons).
  • So the electron configuration of the nitrogen atom is 1s2 2s2 2p3. [3]

Now in this electron configuration of nitrogen, we have to see the total number of electrons present in the highest energy level.

valence electrons in nitrogen

You can see in the electron configuration of nitrogen (1s2 2s2 2p3) that the highest energy level is 2. And the total number of electrons present in this energy level is 2 + 3 = 5.

So by knowing the electron configuration, we have found that the Nitrogen has 5 valence electrons.

I hope you have understood the methods of finding the valence electrons in nitrogen. 

See more related topics for your practice;
Oxygen Valence Electrons
Fluorine Valence Electrons
Neon Valence Electrons
Aluminum Valence Electrons
Silicon Valence Electrons 


Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. With a desire to make learning accessible for everyone, he founded Knords Learning, an online learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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