The population of Algeria was estimated at around 45 million in 2022. The country ranked among the African countries with the largest population. The capital city, Algiers, was the most populous, counting over 1.97 million inhabitants, followed by Boumerdes and Oran. In fact, most of the population lives in the northern areas close to the Mediterranean coast, since the rest of the country is predominantly a desert. The urbanization rate grew steadily to reach approximately 74 percent in 2020. However, considering the vastness of Algeria, which is the leading African country by area, the population density remained low at 18.4 inhabitants per square kilometer. Despite a slight slowdown in the population growth rate in recent years, the number of inhabitants is forecast to exceed 48 million by 2027.
Algerian history is connected to migration. During the French colonization, European settlers moved to the North African country. These were known as Pieds-Noirs, literally ‘Black Feet’, and constituted around 10 percent of the population as of 1960. In the years of the War of Independence and after the decolonization in 1962, while most settlers left the country, many Algerians emigrated to France. They were mostly the poor population of the Kabylia region, as well as those who had supported the French rule. After the independence, economic development led to domestic migration from rural to urban areas.
Increasing urbanization was also due to population growth. Although the fertility rate decreased sharply compared to the 1960s, it was high at around three births per woman in recent years. Households in Algeria had an average size of around 5.3 members in 2020. Yet a decrease was recorded compared to the previous years. This could also result from the declining marriage rate, which fell from 9.88 to 7.26 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants between 2014 and 2019, respectively. In the same period, the divorce rate remained relatively stable.
Youth and social crisis
Over 44 percent of the population in Algeria was aged 24 years and younger as of 2020. The prevalence of youth was due to the high fertility rate as well as life expectancy at birth, which was around 76.9 years in 2019. The youth population in the country has been particularly concerned with the socio-economic crisis in recent years. Since 2019, the high youth unemployment rate, lack of opportunities, increasing poverty rate, and hope for a better future have driven the non-violent protests in the country, known as Hirak, literally 'Movement', and the youth population has been constantly demanding greater freedom and economic reforms.
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