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Libya Demographics Profile

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6,890,535 (July 2020 est.)

note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data (2017)

Age structure
0-14 years: 33.65% (male 1,184,755/female 1,134,084)
15-24 years: 15.21% (male 534,245/female 513,728)
25-54 years: 41.57% (male 1,491,461/female 1,373,086)
55-64 years: 5.52% (male 186,913/female 193,560)
65 years and over: 4.04% (male 129,177/female 149,526) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 47.7
youth dependency ratio: 41
elderly dependency ratio: 6.7
potential support ratio: 15 (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 25.8 years
male: 25.9 years
female: 25.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
1.94% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
23 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
urban population: 80.7% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 1.68% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - population
1.165 million TRIPOLI (capital), 881,000 Misratah, 824,000 Benghazi (2020)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 104.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 11.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 76.7 years
male: 74.4 years
female: 79.1 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
3.17 children born/woman (2020 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
27.7% (2014)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.2% (2019)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
9,500 (2019)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
<500 (2019)
Drinking water source
improved: total: 98.5% of population
unimproved: total: 1.5% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
noun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan
Ethnic groups
Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Italian, Maltese, Pakistani, Tunisian, and Turkish)
Muslim (official; virtually all Sunni) 96.6%, Christian 2.7%, Buddhist 0.3%, Hindu <0.1, Jewish <0.1, folk religion <0.1, unafilliated 0.2%, other <0.1 (2010 est.)

note: non-Sunni Muslims include native Ibadhi Muslims (<1% of the population) and foreign Muslims

Demographic profile

Despite continuing unrest, Libya remains a destination country for economic migrants. It is also a hub for transit migration to Europe because of its proximity to southern Europe and its lax border controls. Labor migrants have been drawn to Libya since the development of its oil sector in the 1960s. Until the latter part of the 1990s, most migrants to Libya were Arab (primarily Egyptians and Sudanese). However, international isolation stemming from Libya’s involvement in international terrorism and a perceived lack of support from Arab countries led QADHAFI in 1998 to adopt a decade-long pan-African policy that enabled large numbers of Sub-Saharan migrants to enter Libya without visas to work in the construction and agricultural industries. Although Sub-Saharan Africans provided a cheap labor source, they were poorly treated and were subjected to periodic mass expulsions.

By the mid-2000s, domestic animosity toward African migrants and a desire to reintegrate into the international community motivated QADHAFI to impose entry visas on Arab and African immigrants and to agree to joint maritime patrols and migrant repatriations with Italy, the main recipient of illegal migrants departing Libya. As his regime neared collapse in 2011, QADHAFI reversed his policy of cooperating with Italy to curb illegal migration and sent boats loaded with migrants and asylum seekers to strain European resources. Libya’s 2011 revolution decreased immigration drastically and prompted nearly 800,000 migrants to flee to third countries, mainly Tunisia and Egypt, or to their countries of origin. The inflow of migrants declined in 2012 but returned to normal levels by 2013, despite continued hostility toward Sub-Saharan Africans and a less-inviting job market.

While Libya is not an appealing destination for migrants, since 2014, transiting migrants – primarily from East and West Africa – continue to exploit its political instability and weak border controls and use it as a primary departure area to migrate across the central Mediterranean to Europe in growing numbers. In addition, more than 200,000 people were displaced internally as of August 2017 by fighting between armed groups in eastern and western Libya and, to a lesser extent, by inter-tribal clashes in the country’s south.

Arabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 96.7%
female: 85.6% (2015)
Education expenditures
Maternal mortality rate
72 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
11.7% (2014)
Physicians density
2.09 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density
3.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
32.5% (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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