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.
average literacy rate for the total population is around 92.4%
(Male: 94.7%, Female: 90.3%).
Business Travel Guide edited by the Lebanese International Business
* Greater Beirut
- Beirut City
- Beirut Suburbs
* Mt Lebanon
(less Beirut Suburbs) 15.1%
* North Lebanon
* Bekaa 13.6%
* Nabatieh 6.9%
Population: 1,362,000 persons (34% of total population):
* Industry 15.1%
* Trade 23.3%
* Services 40.8%
* 15 years and
* 15 – 64 years
* Above 65 years
(Australia & New Zealand): 350,000
* Asia: 400,000
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.
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.