Also See: Major Cities in Syria
Syria, a Middle Eastern country much in the news this year because of its political instability, has a population that's difficult to determine due to said instability. Approximately 5,000 flee Syria every day. In 2012, the country had a population estimated at 22,530,746, although this number had dropped to an estimated population of 22,457,336 as of September 2013.
Just recently, Syria was considered a rapidly growing country in the area, growing over 2% in 2009, and growing from just 6 million in 1971 to its current population of 22.4 million.
Syria Population 2013
Syria's population is comprised of many refugees from other countries. In 2012, it was estimated that 1.8 million refugees in the country were from Iraq, most of whom were displaced during the Iraq war. Syria has also been home to large groups of Palestinians (540,000) and Armenians (130,000). Of course, that's now in the past, as Syria has been in a great deal of turmoil and its population is now tumbling out of control.
While Syria's population is currently 22,457,336 (September 2013), this is dropping every day. The United Nations reports that 5,000 people flee Syria every day, and 28% of its population has now been driven from their homes. There are now 2 million Syrians who have fled, and 4.25 million who have been displaced but stay in the country.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts 10.25 million Syrians will need aid by the end of 2013, which is equal to 46% of Syria's total nation. There are now 2 million refugees from the country in nearby countries. 110,000 are in Egypt, 168,000 are in Iraq, 515,000 in Jordan, 716,000 in Lebanon and 460,000 in Turkey.
Largest cities in Syria
The 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 2,132,000 in 2004, although it has dropped dramatically since, given the civil war and millions fleeing the country. As the country is embroiled in a war, estimates on city populations are unavailable. Although 80% Muslim, it is also home to one of the largest Christian populations in the Middle East. According to the latest estimates, approximately 12%of the city's inhabitants 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).
The Current State of Syria
Syria's bloody civil war has done substantial damage already, and the country is in ruins, in many ways. Civilian neighborhoods have been bombed, sniper fighting and street fights have taken over and there is no end in sight. In mid-2012, rebels moved into Alebbo, the largest city in Syria, and 2/3 of the city was seized within weeks. Now, regime and rebels are locked in warfare, and the city crumbles. After two years of combat, almost 100,000 have been killed. Hafez al-Assad's Alwaites regime represents just one eighth of the country, and the Sunni Muslims (who make up 75% of the country's population) make up the resistance.
The UN estimates that 5,000 Syrians flee the country every day, and 4.25 million people are homeless and displaced in the country. It's estimated that 52% of the refugee population is under the age of 18, and the refugees and displaced now equal 28% of the total population of more than 22 million.
Syria's Future Population
While 3.2 million refugees are expected to be registered as refugees by the end of 2013, the UN estimates this figure will rise to 5.2 million in 2014, with another 6.5 million internally displaced by December 2014.
In 2010, Syria was dealing with a surging population, but this has dramatically reversed. Last year, the population growth rate was -0.8%, but this has dropped much further. The number of refugees alone will top 5 million by just 2015, according to the UN, which means that Syria's population will be just 17 million in two short years. This drop does not include any further deaths from the country's civil war, which will only drive the population down past this point.