Algeria: People & Society#

Population40,263,711 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Algerian(s)
adjective: Algerian
Ethnic groupsArab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%
note: although almost all Algerians are Berber in origin (not Arab), only a minority identify themselves as Berber, about 15% of the total population; these people live mostly in the mountainous region of Kabylie east of Algiers; the Berbers are also Muslim but identify with their Berber rather than Arab cultural heritage; Berbers have long agitated, sometimes violently, for autonomy; the government is unlikely to grant autonomy but has offered to begin sponsoring teaching Berber language in schools
LanguagesArabic (official), French (lingua franca), Berber or Tamazight (official); dialects include Kabyle Berber (Taqbaylit), Shawiya Berber (Tacawit), Mzab Berber, Tuareg Berber (Tamahaq)
ReligionsMuslim (official; predominantly Sunni) 99%, other (includes Christian and Jewish) <1% (2012 est.)
Demographic profileFor the first two-thirds of the 20th century, Algeria’s high fertility rate caused its population to grow rapidly. However, about a decade after independence from France in 1962 the total fertility rate fell dramatically from 7 children per woman in the 1970s to about 2.4 in 2000, slowing Algeria’s population growth rate by the late 1980s. The lower fertility rate was mainly the result of women’s rising age at first marriage (virtually all Algerian children being born in wedlock) and to a lesser extent the wider use of contraceptives. Later marriages and a preference for smaller families are attributed to increases in women’s education and participation in the labor market; higher unemployment; and a shortage of housing forcing multiple generations to live together. The average woman’s age at first marriage increased from about 19 in the mid-1950s to 24 in the mid-1970s to 30.5 in the late 1990s. Thousands of Algerian peasants – mainly Berber men from the Kabylia region – faced with land dispossession and economic hardship under French rule migrated temporarily to France to work in manufacturing and mining during the first half of the 20th century. This movement accelerated during World War I, when Algerians filled in for French factory workers or served as soldiers. In the years following independence, low-skilled Algerian workers and Algerians who had supported the French (harkis) emigrated en masse to France. Tighter French immigration rules and Algiers’ decision to cease managing labor migration to France in the 1970s limited legal emigration largely to family reunification. Not until Algeria’s civil war in the 1990s did the country again experience substantial outmigration. Many Algerians legally entered Tunisia without visas claiming to be tourists and then stayed as workers. Other Algerians headed to Europe seeking asylum, although France imposed restrictions. Sub-Saharan African migrants came to Algeria after its civil war to work in agriculture and mining. In the 2000s, a wave of educated Algerians went abroad seeking skilled jobs in a wider range of destinations, increasing their presence in North America and Spain. At the same time, legal foreign workers principally from China and Egypt came to work in Algeria’s construction and oil sectors. Illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Malians, Nigeriens, and Gambians, continue to come to Algeria in search of work or to use it as a stepping stone to Libya and Europe. Since 1975, Algeria also has been the main recipient of Sahrawi refugees from the ongoing conflict in Western Sahara. An estimated 90,000 Sahrawis live in five refugee camps in southwestern Algeria near Tindouf.
Age structure0-14 years: 29.06% (male 5,991,164/female 5,709,616)
15-24 years: 15.95% (male 3,287,448/female 3,136,624)
25-54 years: 42.88% (male 8,737,944/female 8,526,137)
55-64 years: 6.61% (male 1,349,291/female 1,312,339)
65 years and over: 5.5% (male 1,027,126/female 1,186,022) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 52.6%
youth dependency ratio: 43.6%
elderly dependency ratio: 9.1%
potential support ratio: 11% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 27.8 years
male: 27.5 years
female: 28.1 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.77% (2016 est.)
Birth rate23 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate4.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionthe vast majority of the populace is found in the extreme northern part of the country along the Mediterranean Coast
Urbanizationurban population: 70.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.77% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationALGIERS (capital) 2.594 million; Oran 858,000 (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate140 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 20.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 76.8 years
male: 75.5 years
female: 78.2 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.74 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate61.4% (2006)
Health expenditures7.2% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.21 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 84.3% of population
rural: 81.8% of population
total: 83.6% of population
urban: 15.7% of population
rural: 18.2% of population
total: 16.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 89.8% of population
rural: 82.2% of population
total: 87.6% of population
urban: 10.2% of population
rural: 17.8% of population
total: 12.4% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.04% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS8,800 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths100 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate23.6% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight3% (2013)
Education expenditures4.3% of GDP (2008)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 80.2%
male: 87.2%
female: 73.1% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2011)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 304,358
percentage: 5% (2006 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 25.3%
male: 22.1%
female: 41.4% (2014 est.)