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Demographics of Lebanon

The population of Lebanon comprises Christians, Muslims, Druze, and others. No official census has been taken since 1932, reflecting the political sensitivity in Lebanon over confessional (religious) balance. The U.S. Government estimates that more than half of the resident population is Shi'a Muslim, Sunni Muslims or Druze; the rest is Christian, predominantly Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Armenian. Shi'a Muslims make up the single largest sect. Claims since the early 1970s by Muslims that they are in the majority contributed to tensions preceding the 1975-89 civil war and have been the basis of demands for a more powerful Muslim voice in the government.

While 360,000 Palestinian refugees have registered in Lebanon with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency[?] (UNRWA) since 1948, estimates of those remaining range between 160,000-225,000. They are not accorded the legal rights enjoyed by the rest of the population.

With no official figures available, it is estimated that 600,000-900,000 persons fled the country during the initial years of civil war (1975-76). Although some returned, continuing instability until 1992 sparked further waves of emigration, casting even more doubt on population figures. Approximately 17,000-20,000 people are still "missing" or unaccounted for from the civil war period.

Many Lebanese still derive their living from agriculture. The urban population, concentrated mainly in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, is noted for its commercial enterprise. A century and a half of migration and return have produced Lebanese commercial networks around the globe--from North and South America to Europe, the Gulf, and Africa. Lebanon has a high proportion of skilled labor compared with many other Arab countries.

Population: 3,578,036 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (male 508,936; female 489,122)
15-64 years: 65% (male 1,115,457; female 1,226,448)
65 years and over: 7% (male 108,706; female 129,367) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.38% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 20.26 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.42 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 29.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.25 years
male: 68.87 years
female: 73.74 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.08 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese

Ethnic groups: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

Religions: Muslim 70% (5 legally recognized Islamic groups - Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 30% (11 legally recognized Christian groups - 4 Orthodox Christian, 6 Catholic, 1 Protestant), Jewish NEGL%

Languages: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian widely understood

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 90.8%
female: 82.2% (1997 est.)

See also : Lebanon



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