Libya Population 2017

6,413,494

Unlike other countries around the world that are experiencing similar, volatile political situations, Libya has conducted a relatively recent census within its own country. That nationwide survey was carried out in 2006 and the findings make for interesting reading.

At the time of the 2006 Libyan census, it was confirmed that 5,670,688 people were living in the country. That represented a significant rise from the findings of the previous census of 1995 which returned numbers of 4,405,000. The annual growth rate between these two surveys was therefore 2.3%.

It's difficult to assess the accuracy of more recent estimates, largely from organisations outside of Libya, but they tend to indicate the population is growing at a steady pace. The CIA World Factbook estimates that the Libya Population in 2012 was 6,733,620.

Based on the CIA's estimate, Libya was therefore the 101st largest country in the world. Our best estimate in 2014 is that there are 6.25 million people in Libya, dropping it down to the 109th most populous country.

Largest Cities in Libya

The largest city in Libya is Tripoli, which is also the nation’s capital. There are a number of widely different estimates of its population, however. Precise figures are difficult to come by – I’ve seen estimates ranging from 1.1 to 2.2 million, but the most common suggested figure seems to be around the 1.2 million mark.

Libya's second and third largest cities are Benghazi (pop around 650,000) and Misrata (pop around 300,000).

Libya's stark north-south population divide

In terms of total surface area, Libya covers 1.77 million square kilometres (685,000 square miles) and this makes Libya the 17th largest nation on earth. However, its population density is one of the world’s lowest – with only 3.6 people living in every square kilometer of Libyan territory (9.4 people per square mile) Libya is the 185th most densely populated country in the world (of 192 countries in total).

Population density varies dramatically between two main areas of Libya. In the fertile Northern coastal strip, population density is much higher than the countrywide average – around 50 people per sq km. Elsewhere, though, desert reigns, and people are far more widely dispersed – less than one person on average in each square kilometer.

Libya in many ways mirrors Canada when it comes to population density. Whereas Libya's population is concentrated in a narrow northern strip, Canada's is concentrated in a narrow strip along its southern border with the United States. Co-incidentally, both Libya and Canada have almost identical country-wide population densities.

Libya Population History

There have been eight official censuses carried out in Libya and they have been sporadic in their timing. The first survey took place in 1931 and, with rounded figures, it confirmed that there were 704,000 people living here at the time. The next census took place in 1936 and this revealed an impressive 20% increase, taking the Libya population up to 849,000.

There was a significant gap in records from 1936 to 1954 when it was confirmed that Libya’s population had climbed above one million for the first time. The following censuses took place in 1964, 1973, 1984, 1995 and 2006 respectively and have shown sustained growth.

Ethnicity, Religion and Language in Libya

Data on ethnicity and religion in Libya is not well defined.

The best high level data on Ethnicity seems to be from the US State Department, which records that 97% of Libyans are of mixed Arab-Berber descent. The remaining 3% is made up of a wide mix of ethnic groups, including small groups of Tuareg and Toubou in the south of the country, Egyptians, and a number of small groups of European descent, notably Greek and Italian.

The vast majority of Libyans are Sunni Muslims, but the country also has a few other smaller groups. Christians number around 100,000 – made up largely of 60,000 Egyptian Copts and 40,000 Roman Catholics. The 2006 census also recorded that 0.3% of people in Libya are Buddhists – largely workers from Asia – which makes Libya the largest centre of Buddhism in Northern Africa!

Libya used to have a substantial Jewish population, but this has reduced to nothing over the course of the 20th century.

Modern Standard Arabic is spoken by 95% of Libyans and is the most widely used language in Libya, although many different dialects are in use around the country. Around 300,000 people speak one of a number of varieties of the Berber language. Italian, a legacy of Libya’s colonial past is still spoken by some, mostly elderly, Libyans.

Life expectancy

The life expectancy figures for Libya have increased dramatically over the years and have certainly been partly responsible for sustained growth of population numbers as a whole.

Back in 1950, it was claimed that the average life expectancy of Libyans was just 52.9 years (51.9 for males and 53.9 for females), and this has increased steadily since. The CIA World Factbook reveals that, in 2010, life expectancy within the country had grown to 80.0 years overall, which was split between 79.7 years for males and 81.9 years for females.

Libya Population in 2017Source: No machine-readable author provided. Jaw101ie assumed (based on copyright claims).

Population Data via United Nations WPP (2015 Revision, Medium Variant)

Libya Population Growth

Libya's population is expected to continue growing at a slow pace until 2060, at which point the population will begin to contract.

About Libya

Official NameState of Libya
Languages SpokenArabic
BordersDZA, TCD, EGY, NER, SDN, TUN
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude2517
Currencies UsedLYD

Libya Population Density

Name Population
Al 'Aziziyah4,000
Idri4,611
Giado6,013
Awjilah6,610
Ghadamis7,000
Bardiyah9,149
Al Burayqah13,780
Suluq15,543
Al Jawf17,320
Zaltan17,700
Hun18,878
Az Zuwaytinah21,015
Tukrah23,164
Masallatah23,702
Ghat24,347
Al Qubbah24,631
Surman25,235
Mizdah26,107
Nalut26,256
Waddan27,590
Al Abyar32,563
Az Zintan33,000
Brak39,444
Awbari42,975
Murzuq43,732
Zuwarah45,000
At Taj46,050
Bani Walid46,350
Yafran67,638
Al Bayda'74,594
Darnah78,782
Gharyan85,219
Al Marj85,315
Tagiura100,000
Sabratah102,038
Zliten109,972
Tobruk121,052
Al Jadid126,386
Sirte128,123
Sabha130,000
Ajdabiya134,358
Zawiya186,123
Az Zawiyah200,000
Al Khums201,943
Tarhuna210,697
Misratah386,120
Benghazi650,629
Tripoli1,150,989

Libya Population Clock

What is the population of Libya (as of 10/16/2017)?6,413,494
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2017)6,408,742
Births Per Day68
Deaths Per Day19
Net Migrations Per Day -5
Net Change Per Day 44
Population Change Since January 1st12,716

Libya Population Indicators

IndicatorValue
Crude Birth Rate 19.078 births/thousand
Crude Death Rate 5.409 deaths/thousand
Crude Net Migration Rate -0.308 people/thousand
Life Expectancy (Both Sexes) 72.1 years
Male Life Expectancy 69.361 years
Female Life Expectancy 75.079 years
Total Fertility Rate 2.34 children/woman
Net Reproduction Rate 1.083 surviving daughters/woman
Sex Ratio At Birth 1.06 males per female
Infant Mortality Rate 21.35 deaths/1,000 live births
Under Five Mortality 25.345 deaths/thousand
Mean Age at Childbearing 32.805 years
Rate of Natural Increase 13.303
Death Before 40 Probability (Total) 5.978%
Death Before 40 Probability (Male) 7.591%
Death Before 40 Probability (Female) 4.324%
Death Before 60 Probability (Total) 15.789%
Death Before 60 Probability (Male) 19.648%
Death Before 60 Probability (Female) 11.7%
Median Age (Total) 28.5 years
Median Age (Female) 28.3 years
Median Age (Male) 28.6 years

Libya Population History

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Growth Rate
20176,408,74250.16%49.84%41.50%
20156,278,43850.28%49.72%40.82%
20106,265,69751.19%48.81%40.37%
20055,801,54351.70%48.30%31.80%
20005,337,26452.17%47.83%31.69%
19954,878,20252.39%47.61%31.87%
19904,398,41952.74%47.26%32.27%
19853,840,63553.20%46.80%23.10%
19803,191,30452.37%47.63%23.91%
19752,621,73051.99%48.01%14.06%
19702,114,26451.59%48.41%14.34%
19651,717,25551.40%48.60%13.99%
19601,434,57651.32%48.68%13.38%
19551,233,02551.22%48.78%12.70%
19501,113,38251.73%48.27%11.62%

Libya Population Projections

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Growth Rate
20206,700,08650.17%49.83%41.27%
20257,086,25050.12%49.88%40.99%
20307,418,04450.04%49.96%40.83%
20357,713,20049.95%50.05%40.72%
20407,979,78249.86%50.14%50.61%
20458,206,99149.77%50.23%50.47%
20508,374,99849.71%50.29%50.30%
20558,473,56349.68%50.32%50.15%
20608,515,99049.71%50.29%50.04%
20658,522,57449.79%50.21%5-0.01%
20708,514,63049.92%50.08%5-0.03%
20758,499,80550.08%49.92%5-0.04%
20808,476,14950.24%49.76%5-0.08%
20858,432,12550.39%49.61%5-0.14%
20908,360,05550.53%49.47%5-0.21%
20958,260,425.999,999,99950.67%49.33%5-0.27%
Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects - Global demographic estimates and projections by the United Nations