Tunisia Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Tunisia Country Overview

Where is Tunisia located? The state of Tunisia is located in North Africa and belongs to the Maghreb countries. Since independence from France, Tunisia’s political situation has been relatively stable, making it one of the wealthiest countries in Africa. The world time zone where Tunisia is located on time zone map is Central European Standard Time. This is because Europe and Tunisia are on similar longitudes. In this time zone there is a time shift of +1 hour to world time and no changeover to daylight saving time.

Tunisia National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Tunisia is 11,721,177, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 11,721,177
Population growth rate 0.85%
Birth rate 18.20 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 75.46 years
Men life expectancy 73.40 years
Women life expectancy 77.66 years
Age structure
0-14 years 25.25%
15-64 years 66.53%
65 years and above 8.22%
Median age 31.90 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.99
Population density 71.64 residents per kmĀ²
Urbanization 63.70%
approx. 98% Arabs, 1.2% Berbers; French, Italian and Maltese
Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jews and others 1%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.739
HDI ranking 91st out of 194

People in Tunisia

Originally the Berbers settled in Tunisia. The Berbers lived all over the north of Africa. Little is known about the exact origin of the Berbers. But they are among the original peoples of Africa.

Arabs came here in the 7th and 8th centuries. In addition to Islam, they also brought their language and culture with them. Many Berbers were Arabized in this way and now consider themselves Arabs. They speak a dialect of Arabic, Tunisian Arabic. 98 out of 100 Tunisians are Arabs.

About eleven million people live in Tunisia, which is about twice the size of Austria and half the size of Germany. But the European influence can also be felt in Tunisia. This is due to tourism on the one hand and Tunisia’s history on the other. Because the country was once a French colony and the French influences shaped the country and still shape it today.

Big differences between town and country

As everywhere, there are differences between town and country. Many people are more open, especially in the tourist areas, because tourism contributes to their prosperity. Due to the large number of foreign tourists who mostly spend their holidays in the beach hotels by the sea, money flows into the country. Because many people are dependent on tourists, they are often unable to defend themselves against customs and traditions that are alien to them; even if they don’t like some of the things the tourists do.

Many devout Tunisians in the countryside do not particularly like the clothes that tourists wear. This often leads to misunderstandings and conflicts between tourists and locals. A Tunisian woman would not travel without a man with her. And that is exactly what many tourists from Europe do. But in the big cities of the country you will hardly be able to tell young Tunisians from tourists by their clothes. In the country it looks very different again.

But even today you can see more and more veiled women in the old town of Tunis or other large cities. In the past – in the time before the revolution – wearing a headscarf or veil was forbidden and now it has become a form of freedom for many women to wear a headscarf. What we see as backward, others see as a sign of freedom. There are now many different ways to live in Tunisia.

Languages in Tunisia

ArabicĀ is the official language.

Religions in Tunisia

98 out of 100 Tunisians are followers of Islam. Very few Christians practice their faith in Tunisia. Some Jews still live on the island of Djerba. Even if most Tunisians are Muslims and live their faith, a lot in Tunisia is not handled as strictly as in Egypt or even in Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Pakistan.

On the other hand, there are also more so-called “strict believers” who are committed to ensuring that women fully veil themselves. So they despise people of other faiths too. Both currents of Islam – the modern and the strictly religious – coexist and you will find very modern, open-minded people in Tunisia, but also some who live backwards and very traditionally.