Libya: People & Society#

Population6,541,948 (July 2015 est.)
note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data (2015) (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan
Ethnic groupsBerber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)
LanguagesArabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)
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
note: non-Sunni Muslims include native Ibadhi Muslims (<1% of the population) and foreign Muslims (2010 est.)
Demographic profileDespite 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 inmigration 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, almost 350,000 people were displaced internally as of August 2016 by fighting between armed groups in eastern and western Libya and, to a lesser extent, by inter-tribal clashes in the country’s south.
Age structure0-14 years: 26.17% (male 875,430/female 836,272)
15-24 years: 17.41% (male 586,713/female 552,531)
25-54 years: 46.99% (male 1,613,168/female 1,460,987)
55-64 years: 5.21% (male 174,023/female 167,072)
65 years and over: 4.22% (male 137,409/female 138,343) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 52.4%
youth dependency ratio: 45.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 6.9%
potential support ratio: 14.5% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 28.5 years
male: 28.6 years
female: 28.3 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.8% (2016 est.)
Birth rate17.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate3.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate3.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionwell over 90% of the population lives along the Mediterranean coast in and between the western city of Az Zawiyah (just west of Tripoli) and the eastern city of Darnah; the interior remains vastly underpopulated due to the Sahara and lack of surface water
Urbanizationurban population: 78.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.13% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationTRIPOLI (capital) 1.126 million (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate9 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 11.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 76.5 years
male: 74.7 years
female: 78.3 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.04 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate41.9% (2007)
Health expenditures5% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.9 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density3.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 54.2% of population
rural: 54.9% of population
total: 54.4% of population
urban: 45.8% of population
rural: 45.1% of population
total: 45.6% of population (2001 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 96.8% of population
rural: 95.7% of population
total: 96.6% of population
urban: 3.2% of population
rural: 4.3% of population
total: 3.4% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate31.9% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight5.6% (2007)
Education expendituresNA
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 96.7%
female: 85.6% (2015 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 48.7%
male: 40.8%
female: 67.8% (2012 est.)