Libya People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


7,017,224 (July 2021 est.)

note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data (2019)

country comparison to the world: 105


noun: Libyan(s)

adjective: Libyan

Ethnic groups

Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Italian, Maltese, Pakistani, Tunisian, and Turkish)


Arabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)

printed major-language sample:
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Muslim (official; virtually all Sunni) 96.6%, Christian 2.7%, Buddhist 0.3%, Hindu
note: non-Sunni Muslims include native Ibadhi Muslims (

Demographic profile

Despite 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 immigration 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, more than 200,000 people were displaced internally as of August 2017 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 structure

0-14 years: 33.65% (male 1,184,755/female 1,134,084)

15-24 years: 15.21% (male 534,245/female 513,728)

25-54 years: 41.57% (male 1,491,461/female 1,373,086)

55-64 years: 5.52% (male 186,913/female 193,560)

65 years and over: 4.04% (male 129,177/female 149,526) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 47.7

youth dependency ratio: 41

elderly dependency ratio: 6.7

potential support ratio: 15 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 25.8 years

male: 25.9 years

female: 25.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

Population growth rate

1.76% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Birth rate

22.23 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Death rate

3.46 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 219

Net migration rate

-1.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146

Population distribution

well over 90% of the population lives along the Mediterranean coast in and between Tripoli to the west and Al Bayda to the east; the interior remains vastly underpopulated due to the Sahara and lack of surface water as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 81% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.45% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.170 million TRIPOLI (capital), 919,000 Misratah, 836,000 Benghazi (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

72 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Infant mortality rate

total: 11.48 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 12.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.93 years

male: 74.68 years

female: 79.29 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Total fertility rate

3.13 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Contraceptive prevalence rate

27.7% (2014)

Drinking water source

improved: total: 98.5% of population

unimproved: total: 1.5% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

2.09 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

3.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: total: 100% of population

unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.1% (2020)

country comparison to the world: 126

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

9,500 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 105

HIV/AIDS - deaths

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

32.5% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 16

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11.7% (2014)

country comparison to the world: 50

Education expenditures



definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 91%

male: 96.7%

female: 85.6% (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 48.7%

male: 40.8%

female: 67.8% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

NOTE: The information regarding Libya on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Libya 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Libya 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.