Tunisia: People & Society#

Population11,134,588 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Tunisian(s)
adjective: Tunisian
Ethnic groupsArab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
LanguagesArabic (official, one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce), Berber (Tamazight)
note: despite having no official status, French plays a major role in the country and is spoken by about two-thirds of the population
ReligionsMuslim (official; Sunni) 99.1%, other (includes Christian, Jewish, Shia Muslim, and Baha'i) 1%
Demographic profileThe Tunisian Government took steps in the 1960s to decrease population growth and gender inequality in order to improve socioeconomic development. Through its introduction of a national family planning program (the first in Africa) and by raising the legal age of marriage, Tunisia rapidly reduced its total fertility rate from about 7 children per woman in 1960 to 2 today. Unlike many of its North African and Middle Eastern neighbors, Tunisia will soon be shifting from being a youth-bulge country to having a transitional age structure, characterized by lower fertility and mortality rates, a slower population growth rate, a rising median age, and a longer average life expectancy. Currently, the sizable young working-age population is straining Tunisia’s labor market and education and health care systems. Persistent high unemployment among Tunisia’s growing workforce, particularly its increasing number of university graduates and women, was a key factor in the uprisings that led to the overthrow of the BEN ALI regime in 2011. In the near term, Tunisia’s large number of jobless young, working-age adults; deficiencies in primary and secondary education; and the ongoing lack of job creation and skills mismatches could contribute to future unrest. In the longer term, a sustained low fertility rate will shrink future youth cohorts and alleviate demographic pressure on Tunisia’s labor market, but employment and education hurdles will still need to be addressed. Tunisia has a history of labor emigration. In the 1960s, workers migrated to European countries to escape poor economic conditions and to fill Europe’s need for low-skilled labor in construction and manufacturing. The Tunisian Government signed bilateral labor agreements with France, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, and the Netherlands, with the expectation that Tunisian workers would eventually return home. At the same time, growing numbers of Tunisians headed to Libya, often illegally, to work in the expanding oil industry. In the mid-1970s, with European countries beginning to restrict immigration and Tunisian-Libyan tensions brewing, Tunisian economic migrants turned toward the Gulf countries. After mass expulsions from Libya in 1983, Tunisian migrants increasingly sought family reunification in Europe or moved illegally to southern Europe, while Tunisia itself developed into a transit point for sub-Saharan migrants heading to Europe. Following the ousting of BEN ALI in 2011, the illegal migration of unemployed Tunisian youths to Italy and onward to France soared into the tens of thousands. Thousands more Tunisian and foreign workers escaping civil war in Libya flooded into Tunisia and joined the exodus. A readmission agreement signed by Italy and Tunisia in April 2011 helped stem the outflow, leaving Tunisia and international organizations to repatriate, resettle, or accommodate some 1 million Libyans and third-country nationals.
Age structure0-14 years: 23.02% (male 1,320,426/female 1,243,287)
15-24 years: 15.05% (male 840,907/female 834,320)
25-54 years: 44.52% (male 2,402,272/female 2,554,362)
55-64 years: 9.21% (male 520,305/female 505,612)
65 years and over: 8.2% (male 448,870/female 464,227) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 44.8%
youth dependency ratio: 33.8%
elderly dependency ratio: 11%
potential support ratio: 9.1% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 32.4 years
male: 31.9 years
female: 32.7 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.86% (2016 est.)
Birth rate16.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionthe overwhelming majority of the population is located in the northern half of the country; the south remains largely underpopulated
Urbanizationurban population: 66.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.38% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationTUNIS (capital) 1.993 million (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate62 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 21.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 76.1 years
male: 74 years
female: 78.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.98 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate62.5% (2011/12)
Health expenditures7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.22 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density2.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 93.2% of population
total: 97.7% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 6.8% of population
total: 2.3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 97.4% of population
rural: 79.8% of population
total: 91.6% of population
urban: 2.6% of population
rural: 20.2% of population
total: 8.4% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.04% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS2,600 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths100 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate27.1% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight2.3% (2012)
Education expenditures6.3% of GDP (2012)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.8%
male: 89.6%
female: 74.2% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years
male: NA
female: NA (2014)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 37.6%
male: 35.7%
female: 41.8% (2012 est.)