Demographics of the Arab world The Arab world
consists of 22 states. As of 2018, the combined population of all the Arab states was around 407-420 million people.
Population density of the Arab countries
The population of the Arab world as estimated by the UN in 2017 was 414,727,833,
But there's no exact figures of the annual population growth, fertility rate, or mortality rate are known to exist.
Most of the Arab population is concentrated in and around major urban areas.
were founded in areas that are now Arab countries. Consequently, the majority of the Arab citizens are either Muslims
. The Arab countries host several holy cities and other religiously significant locations, including Alexandria
, and Baghdad
Muslims constitute vast majority of the Arab world's residents. However, Shi'a
make up the slight majority in areas of Iraq and Bahrain
is the second largest religion, with over 20 million Christians living in countries such as Lebanon
. There are smaller Jewish
populations living mainly in the western part of the Arab world. Places such as Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt and Iraq all have Jewish populations. However, most Arab Jews emigrated from the Arab states to Israel
after its founding in 1948.
Other minor religions such as Druze
religion, the Baháʼí Faith
religion and Yarsan
are practiced on a much smaller scale.
Arab countries by religion (percentage of population)
Major languages of the Arab world (the map is not precise)
An overview of the different Arabic dialects
is the official and most spoken language in the Arab world, but additional languages are often used in the daily lives of some citizens. Currently, three major languages other than Arabic are used widely: Kurdish
in northern Iraq and parts of Syria, Berber
in North Africa
, and Somali
in the Horn of Africa
There are several minority languages that are still spoken today, such as Afar
, and Turkish
. Arabic is a non-native language to 20% of the Arab population, with the Somali, Berber and Kurdish languages considered the most widely used after Arabic.
On the other hand, Arabic is divided into over 27 dialects. Almost every Arab state has at least one local dialect of its own. they can be divided into 5 major branches, the Peninsula Arabic, which is the Arabic used in the Arabian peninsula, with around 9 main dialects, Arabic of the Nile Valley, which includes the Masri, Saedi, Sudanese and Chadic Arabic, the Arabic of the Fertile Crescent, which includes the Bedawi, Levant Arabic, Iraqi Arabic and North Mesopotamian Arabic, the Magharbi Arabic, which includes the Dialects used in Mauritania, Morocco, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia, also another category of Arabic is the other isolated dialects of Arabic, like the Judeo-Arabic, Mediterranean Arabic, Nubi Arabic, and the juba Arabic, which have greatly been affected by these communities' own pronunciation, culture and native tongue.
Arab world populations
Many Arab countries in the Persian Gulf have sizable (10–30%) non-Arab populations. Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman have a Persian
speaking minority. The same countries also have Hindi-Urdu speakers and Filipinos as sizable minority. Balochi speakers are a good size minority in Oman. Additionally, countries like Bahrain, UAE, Oman and Kuwait have significant non-Arab and non-Muslim minorities (10–20%) like Hindus and Christians from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines.
The table below shows the distribution of populations in the Arab world
and Israel, as well as the official language(s) within the various Arab states.
The Arab world
has between 400,000 and 500,000 Armenians
inhabiting its geographical area. Armenians
are largely concentrated in countries such as Lebanon
150,000 - 250,000 and Syria
100,000 to 150,000 as well as Palestine
, and to a lesser degree Egypt
, but Armenians can also be found in countries like Qatar
and the UAE
. These Armenians are economic migrants from Lebanon
Prior to World War I, there were some 2,000–3,000 Armenians in Palestine, mostly in Jerusalem. From 1915 and onward, thousands of Armenian Genocide
survivors from Cilicia
) found refuge, and settled in Palestine, increasing its Armenian population.
In 1925, around 15,000 Armenians are believed to have lived in all of Palestine, with the majority in Jerusalem.
During Mandatory Palestine
period, the number of Armenians is estimated to have reached up to 20,000.
However, the 1931 British census showed only 3,524 Armenians in all of Palestine.
A large number of Armenian monks are recorded to have settled in Jerusalem as early as the 4th century,
after the uncovering of Christian holy places in the city.
However, the first written records are from the 5th century.
Jerusalem is thus considered the oldest living diaspora
community outside the Armenian homeland
Nowadays, there are estimated 7500 living in the region of Historical Palestine
(also known as Chaldo-Assyrians) can be found in Iraq
, north eastern Syria
, and to a lesser degree north western Iran
and south eastern Turkey
. They are an ancient Semitic people
who retain Aramaic
as a spoken language. They are exclusively Christian
and are descendants of the ancient pre Arab Assyrians
. Almost all Christians in Iraq are ethnic Assyrians, where they number approximately 400,000. 500,000 are in Syria but are harder to identify, because they are often included in with the general Christian
population and speak Arabic, however the Christians of the Tur Abdin
and Al Hasakah
regions in the north east are predominantly Assyrian.
The town of Aït Benhaddou
is a typical desert Amazigh town; the Berbers
(Amazigh) are the largest non-Arab ethnicity in the Arab world.
are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. They are distributed in an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River. Historically, they spoke Berber languages, which together form the Berber branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. Since the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the seventh century, a large number of Berbers inhabiting the Maghreb have acquired different degrees of knowledge of varieties of Maghrebi Arabic.
are a people who originate in the North Caucasus
. They are predominantly Muslim, and can be found in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon in relatively small numbers.
The Jewish tribes of Arabia
were Arabian tribes professing the Jewish faith
that inhabited the Arabian Peninsula
before and during the advent of Islam
. It is not always clear whether they were originally Israelite
in ancestry, genealogically Arab tribes that converted to Judaism, or a mixture of both. In Islamic tradition the Jewish tribes of the Hejaz
were seen as the offspring of the ancient Israelites
According to Muslim sources, they spoke a language other than Arabic, which Al-Tabari
claims was Persian. This implies they were connected to the major Jewish center in Babylon.:5
Certain Jewish traditions records the existence of nomadic tribes such as the Rechabites
that converted to Judaism in antiquity. The tribes collapsed with the rise of Islam, with many either converting or fleeing the Arab peninsula. Some of those tribes are thought to have merged into Yemenite Jewish community
, while others, like the residents of Yatta
consider themselves Islamized descendants of Khaybar
, a Jewish tribe of Arabia.
from Arab countries – included in the Mizrahi Jewish
communities– are not categorized as, and do not consider themselves to be, Arabs, as Jews are a separate nation from Arabs, with different history and culture.
However, sometimes the term Arab Jews
is used to describe Jews from Arab countries, though the term is highly controversial. Sociologist Sammy Smooha stated "This ("Arab Jews") term does not hold water. It is absolutely not a parallel to 'Arab Christian'".
Those who dispute the historicity
of the term make the claim that Middle Eastern Jews are similar to Assyrians
, and other Middle Eastern groups who live in Arab societies as distinct minority groups with distinct identity and therefore are not categorized as Arabs.
, sometimes also called Sabians
, are a people found mainly in southern Iraq. Their numbers total no more than 70,000. They follow Mandaeism
, a gnostic
are a tiny minority of the Assyrian/Syriac people who have converted to Islam but retained their Syriac culture.
Nubians, found in Northern Sudan
and Southern Egypt
, are a different ethnicity
from their northern and southern neighbors in Egypt and Sudan, numbering 1.7 million in Sudan and Egypt. The Nubian people
in Sudan inhabit the region between Wadi Halfa
in the north and Aldaba in the south. The main Nubian groups from north to south are the Halfaweyen, Sikut (Sickkout), Mahas
, and Danagla. They speak different dialects of the Nubian language
were famous for their vast wealth, their trade between Central Africa
and the lower Nile valley
civilizations, including Egypt, their skill and precision with the bow, their 23-letter alphabet, the use of deadly poison on the heads of their arrows, their great military, their advanced civilization, and their century-long rule over the united upper and lower Egyptian kingdoms.
are to be found in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa; their numbers are unknown. They speak their own language and may loosely follow the predominant religion of the country they live in.
are mainly found in Iraq, they are either Muslim or follow native religions. They are also related to Kurds, but like the Yazidi, emphasise their separate identity.
and Arabic are the two official languages in Somalia
, both of which belong to the Afro-Asiatic
family. Article 3 of the constitution
outlines the country's founding principles, establishing it as a Muslim state, and a member of the Arab and African nations.
About 85% of local residents are ethnic Somalis
who have historically inhabited the northern part of the country.
Many self-identify as Somali instead of Arab despite centuries-old ties to Arabia.
There are also a number of Benadiris
, whose demographics are approximately 60% Somali and 35% Afar
, is in a similar position. Arabic is one of the official languages, 94% of the nation's population is Muslim, and its location on the Red Sea
places it in close proximity to the Arabian Peninsula. Somali and Afar
are also recognized national languages.
There is a notable Turkish minority in Egypt
; prior to the Egyptian revolution
in 1919, the ruling and upper classes were mainly Turkish, or of Turkish descent (see Turks in Egypt
), which was part of the heritage from the Ottoman rule of Egypt.
In the Levant
the Turks are scattered throughout the region. In Iraq and Syria the Turkish minorities are commonly referred to as "Turkmen", "Turkman" and "Turcoman"; these terms have historically been used to designate Turkish speakers in Arab areas, or Sunni Muslims in Shitte areas.
The majority of Iraqi Turkmen
and Syrian Turkmen
are the descendants of Ottoman Turkish settlers.
and share close cultural and linguistic ties with Turkey
, particularly the Anatolian
In 2013 the Iraqi Ministry of Planning estimated that Iraqi Turkmen numbered 3 million out of the country's 34.7 million inhabitants (approximately 9% of the total population).
Estimates of the Syrian Turkmen population range from several hundred thousand to 3.5 million.
There is also Turkish minorities located in Jordan
(Turks in Jordan
) and Lebanon
(Turks in Lebanon
). In Lebanon, they live mainly in the villages of Aydamun
in the Akkar District
, as well as in Baalbek
, and Tripoli
. The Lebanese Turks
number approximately 80,000.
However, there has also been a recent influx of Syrian Turkmen
refugees (125,000 to 150,000 in 2015) who now outnumber the long establish Ottoman descended Turkish minority.
are a religious Kurdish community who represent an ancient religion that is linked to Zoroastrianism and Sufism. They number 500,000 in Iraq and 14,000 in Syria.
In 647 AD (the year 27 of the Hegira), the first Muslim
expedition to Africa
took place. By 700 AD, the area had been conquered and converted to the Islamic faith
. We know little of the early Islamic town, but by the tenth century the area outside of the fortress was once more filled with houses: on the site of the Roman baths over twelve of these were excavated, with large courtyards surrounded by long, thin, rooms.
Comparison of the members
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Last edited on 20 April 2021, at 06:10
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