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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Lebanon Life




People
The 1997 estimated population was 3,111,828, but this figure, provided by the Lebanese government, does not include Palestinian refugees and foreign workers, mainly Syrian. An independent 1998 estimate placed the population at 3,505,794, yielding a population density of 335 persons per sq km (869 per sq mi).

Densities are highest along the coast and on the lower western slopes of the Lebanon Mountains. Some 88 percent of the population is urban. Emigration from Lebanon to other countries, especially among Christians, has been steady since the mid-19th century, and it increased sharply during the civil war.

Language
About 93% of the population are Arab, 5% are Armenian, and the remaining 2% of the population belong to Kurdish, Assyrian, or other ethnicities. Among Arabs, about 12% are Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of whom live in refugee camps. Palestinian refugees are considered stateless, and their future is uncertain. Before the civil war, thousands of Westerners lived and worked in Lebanon, but most of these foreigners have left the country. Arabic is the official language, but French is commonly used, especially in government and among the upper class. English is also widely used, particularly as the language of business and education. Most Armenians speak Armenian.

Religion
The government policy of confessionalism, or the grouping of people by religion, plays a critical role in Lebanon's political and social life and has given rise to Lebanon's most persistent and bitter conflicts. At the time of Lebanon's independence in the 1940s, there were more Christians than Muslims. In the following years, many Muslims immigrated to Lebanon and had a higher birthrate than the Christians; as a result, Muslims became the majority group in Lebanon. Today, an estimated 70 percent of Lebanese are Muslim, while most of the remaining 30 percent are Christian. Every person's religion is encoded on a required, government-issued identification card.

The government recognizes 17 distinct religious sects: 5 Muslim ( Shiite, Sunnite, Druze, Ismailite, and Alawite), 11 Christian (4 Orthodox, 6 Catholic, and 1 Protestant), and Judaism.


 

Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM








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