's estimated pre–Syrian Civil War
2011 population was 22 ±.5
million permanent inhabitants, which included 21,124,000 Syrians,
as well as 1.3 million Iraqi refugees
and over 500,000 stateless Palestinians
The war makes an accurate count of the Syrian population difficult, as the numbers of Syrian refugees
,internally displaced Syrians
numbers are in flux. The CIA World Factbook
showed an estimated 19,454,263 people as of July 2018.
Of the pre-war population, six million are refugees outside the country
, seven million are internally displaced
, three million live in rebel
-held territory, and two million live in the Kurdish-ruled Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria
Most modern-day Syrians
are described as Arabs
by virtue of their modern-day language and bonds to Arab culture and history. Genetically, Syrian Arabs are a blend of various Semitic
-speaking groups indigenous to the region.
With around 10% of the population, Kurds
are the second biggest ethnic group, followed by Turkmen
Human toll of Syrian Civil War
More than six million refugees left the country during the civil war,
of whom over five million are registered as refugees by the UNHCR
as of mid-2019.
Most of them fled to neighboring countries such as Turkey
as well as European nations like Greece
. Since 2017, around 49 percent of the Population lives in poverty.
The war resulted in large-scale displacement in the country. The UNHCR estimates internally displaced people
(IDPs) at seven million. A further 70,000 people were trapped on the border with Jordan at Rukban
with up to 40,000 still there in 2019.
A significant part of the population lives in territory outside government sovereignty. At its peak in 2015, ISIL
ruled over ten million people across Syria and Iraq.
The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), commonly referred to as Rojava
, has a population of around two million.
Areas controlled by the opposition have had a population in the millions. In mid-2017, UN OCHA estimated that around 540,000 persons were trapped in besieged areas as of June 2017, the majority besieged by government forces in Eastern Ghouta
By the time the government retook Ghouta in April 2018, some 140,000 individuals had fled their homes and up to 50,000 were evacuated to Idlib and Aleppo governorates.
The latter rebel areas
had an estimated population of 3 million (40% of them displaced from defeated rebel areas).Fighting in Idlib
has led to further displacements, of up to 250,000 people, and generating new refugee outflows to neighbouring Turkey.
Displacement has led to demographic shifts. One example is the area in the North under control by Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces
(SDF). Many human rights groups, including Amnesty International
and international organizations
have accused SDF forces of committing ethnic cleansing in Arab areas they were capturing from other war factions.
The accusation was repeated on 8 May 2019 by Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov
NGOs and the opposition have also accused the government of using the conflict to affect demographic restructuring.
In April 2016, the UN estimated that 400,000 people had died in the war,
and casualties have continued since, with estimates for the total dead by mid-2019 of up to 220,000 civilians, 175,000 government combatants, and 174,000 anti-government combatants (see Casualties of the Syrian Civil War
The war also affected the birth rate. The annual birth rate in Syria has fallen by more than half since the country plunged into turmoil in March 2011, from about 500,000 births per year before 2011 (according to a medical official speaking to the government loyalist newspaper Al-Watan
), to about 200,000 in 2015 (according to a "government report" cited by Press TV
).[better source needed]
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2018)
Since 1960, censuses have been conducted in 1960, 1970, 1981, 1994 and 2004.
In 2014, 17,951,639, a massive decline due to nearly 4 million Syrian refugees
leaving the country because of the Syrian Civil War
and furthermore because of the death in the war. This is a drop of 9.7% from the previous year.
In 2017, the head of the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs, Mohammad Akram al-Qash, said that the Syrian population was 28 million, of which, 21 million were living in Syria and that 7 million were refugees.
In 2018, 19,454,263 estimated.
total: 24.5 years
male: 24 years
female: 25 years (2018 est.)
Population decline rate
0.797% (2012 est.)
20.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate
57 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0–14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15–24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25–54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55–64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Marital fertility rate Source:
Life expectancy at birth
total: 75.2 years
male: 72.8 years
female: 77.8 years (2018 est.)
as of 2004 6,133,652
Syrians among 17,921,000
total population live in the first 10: (1) Aleppo 2,132,100 (2) Damascus 1,711,000 (3) Homs 652,609 (4) Latakia 383,786 (5) Hama 312,994 (6) Raqqa 220,488 (7) Deir ez-Zor 211,857 (8) Al-Hasakah 188,160 (9) Qamishli 184,231 (10) Sayyidah Zaynab 136,427
Urban population: 54.2% of total population (2018)
Rate of urbanization
: 1.43% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas
Population density, 1993
Damascus (capital): 2.32 million
Aleppo: 1.754 million
Homs: 1.295 million
Race and ethnicity
On 1 January 2011, the number of residents of Syria was 24 million, distributed over the 14 governorates.
Arabs represent 80-85% of the population, with the rest being a mixture of many ethnic and religious sects, as shown in the table below:
The CIA World Factbook cites the following figures for ethnic groups as at July 2018: approximately Arab
10%, other 15% (includes Druze
However, Professor John A. Shoup said in 2018 that Kurds made 9% of the population, followed by Turkish-speaking Turkmen comprising 4-5% , Assyrians 4%, Armenians 2%, and Circassians about 1% of the total population.
There has been no Syrian census including a question about religion since 1960, these are thus the last official statistics available:
In 1991 Professor Alasdair Drysdale
and Professor Raymond Hinnebusch said that some 85% of Syrians were Muslims
and that the remainder were almost all Christians
, however, both religious groups were subdivided into many ethnic sects.
Among the former, approximately 75% of Syrians were Sunni Muslim
, of whom, 60% were Arabic
-speaking and the remainder of Sunnis included Kurds
3%, and Circassians
(less than 1%).
In addition, Alawis
formed 5.5%, Druze
3% and Ismailis
1.5% of the population. In regards to the Christians, they were subdivided into the Greek Orthodox
4% and Assyrians
The first census which focused on the sectarian distribution was carried out in 1932 under the French mandate
, however, this census was only carried out in the lands under the short-lived Government of Latakia (the Alawite State
established by the French) which covered only 7,000 km2
(2,700 sq mi) out of modern Syria’s total area of 185,000 km2
(71,000 sq mi).
A general census of Syria in 1943 gave details of religious groups of the population and the rate of growth of each and estimates of the population in 1953 from an unnamed source were as follows:
Economic class - Literacy
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 11. Schooling consists of 6 years of primary education followed by a 3-year general or vocational training period and a 3-year academic or vocational program. The second 3-year period of academic training is required for university admission. Total enrollment at post-secondary schools is over 150,000. The literacy rate of Syrians aged 15 and older is 86.0% for males and 73.6% for females.
definition: age 15 and older can read and write
total population: 86.4% (2015 est.)
is the official, and most widely spoken, language. Arabic speakers make up 85% of the population. Several modern Arabic dialects
are used in everyday life, most notably Levantine
in the west and Mesopotamian
in the northeast. A report published by the UNHCR
points out that "while the majority of Syrians are considered Arabs, this is a term based on spoken language (Arabic), not ethnicity."
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Kurds are the second largest ethnic group in Syria, making up around 10% of the Syrian population and distributed among four regions...with a Yazidi minority that numbers around 40,000...
Turkmen are the third largest ethnic group in Syria, making up around 4–5% of the population. Some estimations indicate that they are the second biggest group, outnumbering Kurds, drawing on the fact that Turkmen are divided into two groups: the rural Turkmen who make up 30% of the Turkmen in Syria and who have kept their mother tongue, and the urban Turkmen who have become Arabized and no longer speak their mother language...
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Last edited on 12 May 2021, at 17:02
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