Syria Population 2012
Syria, a Middle Eastern country much in the news this year because of its political instability, has a population in 2012 of 22,717,417.
In common with many other countries in the region, the population of Syria is growing rapidly. According to the US state department, it grew by more than 2% in 2009, and has more than trebled during the past forty years – growing from 6 million in 1971 to over 22 million today.
A large proportion of the population of Syria is made up of refugees from other countries. The vast majority of the 1.8 million refugees living in Syria are from Iraq – around 1.3 million Iraqis displaced during the Iraq war and its aftermath still live in Syria. Other major groups of foreign nationals living in Syria include Palestinians (540,000) and Armenians (130,000).
Largest cities in SyriaThe largest city in Syria is not its capital Damascus, but Aleppo which is situated in the North East of the country.
Aleppo’s population was recorded at 2,301,570 in 2005, although is likely to have increased since. Although 80% Muslim, it is also home to one of the largest Christian populations in the Middle East. According to the latest estimates, approximately 250,000 of the city’s inhabitants (around 12%) are Christian.
Damascus is the second largest city in Syria, with a population of 1,711,000 (estimate, 2009). It holds the record as the oldest continually inhabited city in the world – there is evidence of human habitation in Damascus dating back to 9,000BC.
Syria is urbanizing rapidly. It is estimated that in 2010, 56% of the people in Syria lived in an urban environment, and this number is increasing by more than 2% per year.
Syria is a largely Islamic country – according to the latest data from 2007, 87% of the country’s population was Muslim. Broken down, around 74% are Sunni and around 13% are Shia. There are approximately 2 million Alawi in Syria today, and representatives of this group dominate Syrian politics and the Syrian military. Syria’s current President, Bashar al-Assad, is an Alawi Shia.
The other two major religious groups in Syria are Christian (around 9% of the population) and Druze (3%).
The largest ethnic group (approximately 90%) in Syria is Arab, mostly classified as Levantine. Other major groups in Syria are Kurds (2 million), Syrian Turkmen (0.75-1.5 million) and Assyrians (0.9 to 1.2 million)