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Libya Demographics Profile

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Population7,017,224 (July 2021 est.)

note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data (2019)
Nationalitynoun: Libyan(s)

adjective: Libyan
Ethnic groupsBerber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Italian, Maltese, Pakistani, Tunisian, and Turkish)
LanguagesArabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)

major-language sample(s):
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ReligionsMuslim (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
Age structure0-14 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 ratiostotal dependency ratio: 47.7

youth dependency ratio: 41

elderly dependency ratio: 6.7

potential support ratio: 15 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 25.8 years

male: 25.9 years

female: 25.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate1.76% (2021 est.)
Birth rate22.23 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate3.46 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate-1.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionwell over 90% of the population lives along the Mediterranean coast in and between Tripoli to the west and Al Bayda to the east; the interior remains vastly underpopulated due to the Sahara and lack of surface water as shown in this population distribution map
Urbanizationurban population: 81% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.45% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population1.170 million TRIPOLI (capital), 919,000 Misratah, 836,000 Benghazi (2021)
Sex ratioat 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: 1.05 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Maternal mortality rate72 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 11.48 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 12.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 76.93 years

male: 74.68 years

female: 79.29 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate3.13 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate27.7% (2014)
Drinking water sourceimproved: total: 98.5% of population

unimproved: total: 1.5% of population (2017 est.)
Physicians density2.09 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density3.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: total: 100% of population

unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.1% (2020)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS9,500 (2020)
HIV/AIDS - deaths<100 (2020)
Food insecuritysevere localized food insecurity: due to civil insecurity, economic and political instability, and high food prices - an estimated 1.3 million people (23% of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance of which 700,000 require food assistance; half of the people in need of humanitarian assistance are internally displaced or migrants that are residing in, or transiting through, the country (2021)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate32.5% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight11.7% (2014)
Education expendituresNA
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.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 91%

male: 96.7%

female: 85.6% (2015)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on September 18, 2021

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