Lebanon Profile 



The Lebanese are descended from many ethnic strains, mainly Semitic, and may be traced to the ancient Phoenicians, Hebrews, Philistines, Assyrians, and Arabs.  Among relative newcomers is an Armenian minority of about 6 percent. Lebanon is host to a large number of Palestinian refugees displaced at the creation of Israel.

According to a 1996 estimate, the population of Lebanon was about 3,800,000; the overall density was about 341 people per sq. km. About 80 percent of the people lived in urban areas.  No census has been taken since 1932.

The official Language is Arabic but French (official foreign language) and English are widely used. Armenian is spoken by that minority group.

The average literacy rate for the total population is around 92.4% (Male: 94.7%, Female: 90.3%).

Population Distribution (Source: Business Travel Guide edited by the Lebanese International Business Council)

- Geographical Distribution

* Greater Beirut Area 32.5%

- Beirut City 10%

- Beirut Suburbs 22.5%

* Mt Lebanon (less Beirut Suburbs) 15.1%

* North Lebanon 20.1%

* Bekaa 13.6%

* Nabatieh 6.9%

- Active Population: 1,362,000 persons (34% of total population):

* Agriculture 9.3%

* Industry 15.1%

* Construction 11.6%

* Trade 23.3%

* Services 40.8%

- Age Distribution:

* 15 years and less: 29.2%

* 15 64 years old 63.8%

* Above 65 years 6.9%

- Diaspora Distribution

* Americas: South 6,500,000

- North 2,500,000

- Central 400,000

* Oceania (Australia & New Zealand): 350,000

* Asia: 400,000

* Africa: 400,000

* Europe: 500,000




Lebanon is remarkable in that some 17 different religious communities are crowded into its small area and yet manage to live together in a spirit of tolerance and co-operation, the principal groups are: Moslem (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Alawite, Isma'ilite), Christian (Maronite, Antiochian Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Protestant & others), Judaism.  


The Lebanese in the Diaspora outnumber their brethren in Lebanon by almost 3 folds. Besides a natural migratory spirit, major migratory movements occurred in times of instability: economic and political. The first important wave could be traced back to the period 1860 1900, when around 300,000 Lebanese are known to have made it to the New World: the Americas and Australia. During the World War I years the population suffered from starvation due to the confiscation of their food stocks by Ottoman soldiers and the siege by the Allies of Beirut Port, leading to a second major wave. It was estimated that the emigration rate stood at around 3,000 annually, then considered as normal. The most important wave occurred as a consequence to the events of 1975 and thereafter causing the emigration of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese. Also these latest events led to an internal displacement of the population in the hundreds of thousand. 

Related Links

Ministry of Displaced

Ministry of Emigrants

Central Administration for Statistics  

The General Security(Movements in and out of the country)


Education ( click here)

Health      SORRY! Under Construction

 Related Link

Ministry of Public Health


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