Demographics of Tunisia - statistics & facts

Tunisia's population amounted to around 12 million in 2022. The country is one of the least populous in North Africa, followed by Libya. With an increasing urbanization rate, most people live in the governorates of Tunis, Sfax, and Nabeul, the leading areas by number of residents. Although the annual population growth slowed down in 2019 and 2020, the Tunisian population is forecast to increase to around 12.5 million by 2026.

Controlled population growth

The population of Tunisia is experiencing a low but stable growth rate. The country was the first in Africa to introduce a family planning program in the 1960s, aiming at reducing the fertility rate, that is the average number of births per woman. In recent years, the annual live births continued to decline. Between 2014 and 2020, the number of newborns fell from nearly 226,000 to around 173,000, respectively. The program’s success boosted social development and increased life expectancy at birth, which reached 76.7 years in 2019. Moreover, many Tunisians emigrated abroad to work, especially to Europe and the Middle East, contributing to slowing down the population growth.

Aging population

The family planning program also led to an increasingly aging population. In recent years, the share of Tunisians aged 65 years and older kept growing, while the percentage of young people remained below the average in North Africa. Nevertheless, the country still has a large youth population aged 0-24 years, which made up around a third of Tunisians in 2020. Young people in the country are particularly concerned with widespread unemployment, despite the average high levels of education.

Shrinking household size and women's status

Reflecting the controlled fertility rate, households in Tunisia had an average size of 3.78 members in 2021. Moreover, the marriage rate declined significantly in recent years, while divorces have become increasingly more frequent. In 2019, over 17,000 divorces were performed in the country, compared to roughly 14,500 in 2014. Some demographic trends such as the decreasing fertility rate and the rising number of divorces also reflect the level of emancipation among Tunisian women, which is higher than in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2021, the female population in Tunisia was very close to achieving gender equality in the health and education sectors. Yet their economic and political participation remained limited.

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