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Middle East: Facts & Stats

DEMOGRAPHICS | Economy | History | Culture



List of Middle East countries by population.
  1. Egypt 77,545,232
  2. Turkey 71,517,100
  3. Iran 70,472,846
  4. Iraq 28,807,000
  5. Saudi Arabia 24,573,000
  6. Yemen 21,730,000
  7. Syria 19,050,000
  8. Israel 7,026,000
  9. Jordan 5,703,000
  10. United Arab Emirates 4,496,000
  11. Lebanon 3,925,502
  12. Palestine 3,702,000
  13. Kuwait 2,687,000
  14. Oman 2,567,000
  15. Qatar 813,000
  16. Bahrain 727,000

Ethnic groups:

The ethnic groups in Middle East fall into several categories:
  • The Middle East proper is dominated by the Arabs. There are various other ethnic groups, the Iranian peoples (primarily the Kurds), Turkic peoples (such as the Syrian and Iraqi Turkmens), Assyrians and Jews (notably Israelis).

  • Iran is mostly populated by Persians alongside a large minority of Turkic peoples (notably the Azerbaijanis, but also the Turkmens) and Kurds, Arab and other minorities such as Armenians and Assyrians.

  • Anatolia is mostly populated by Turks, besides minorities (notably Kurds).

  • Cyprus is mostly populated by Greeks, and Turks.

  • The Caucasus has many ethnicities.


Languages of the Middle East span many different families, including Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic, and Altaic.

Arabic in its numerous varieties and Persian are most widely spoken in the region, with Arabic being the most widely spoken language in the Arab countries. Other languages spoken in the region include Syriac (a form of Aramaic), Armenian, Azeri, Berber languages, Circassian, Persian, Gilaki language and Mazandarani languages, Hebrew in its numerous varieties, Kurdish, Luri, Turkish and other Turkic languages, Somali and Greek. In Turkey, Kurdish, Dimli (or Zaza), Azeri, Kabardian, and Gagauz languages are spoken, in addition to the Turkish language. Several modern South Arabian languages are also spoken.

English is also spoken, especially among the middle and upper class, in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, and Kuwait. French is spoken in Algeria, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Egypt. Urdu is spoken in many Middle Eastern countries, such as Arab states the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Qatar, which have large numbers of Pakistani immigrants. The largest Romanian-speaking community in the Middle East is found in Israel, where as of 1995 Romanian is spoken by 5% of the population. Romanian is spoken mostly as a secondary language by people from Arab-speaking countries that made their studies in Romania. It is estimated that almost half a million Middle Eastern Arabs studied in Romania during the 1980s. Russian language is also spoken by a large portion of the Israeli population, due to emigration in the late 1990s.


The Middle East is very diverse when it comes to religions, most of which originated there. Islam in its many forms is by far the largest religion in the Middle East, but other faiths, such as Judaism and Christianity, are also important. There are also important minority religions like Bahá'í, Yazdanism, Zoroastrianism.

Christianity has its origin in the Middle East and was the major religion of the region from the time of Jesus and for some time after the Muslim Conquests of the seventh century. Although Greek was the dominant language of the Early Church emerging from Hellenized communities around the Eastern Mediterranean (Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt), many Christian groups used other, local languages, of which Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, Ge'ez, Georgian and Arabic are prominent.

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