Partners in Creating the Future
Arab Day for Population and Development October 28, 2023
Arab Day for Population and Development October 28, 2023
Tuesday, 26 September 2023


Following a recommendation proposed by the League of Arab States, it was decided to adopt October 28 of each year as the official day of The Arab Day for Population and Development. This date coincides with the date of the establishment of the Arab Council for Population and Development in 2019, an initiative earlier proposed by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The initiative came as a step to bolster joint Arab action in the field of population and development. This day comes when the Arab world is in most need to join efforts in confronting major issues and challenges in various political, economic and social fields whereupon population issues come in the lead of the overall Arab arena.

Demographic facts at the level of the Arab region

  • Figures from the United Nations Population Division demonstrate that the population of the Arab world has risen by 80 million in the second decade of the third millennium to reach 473 million in 2023, representing 5.9% of the  total population globally. Projections of population growth in the region are expected to grow and exceed 533 million people by 2030 and 694 million people by 2050.
  • 61% of the population of the Arab world lives in Africa, whereas the Asian part embraces the remaining 39%. 68% of the population of the Arab world lives in 6 out of the 22 countries, which are in the following order: Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, the Kingdom of Morocco, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia respectively.
  • Population Age Structure

  • The Arab region still enjoys a young demographic structure, as the percentage of children under the age of 15 constitutes about one third of the population in 2023. The number of young people of 15-24 years old has risen from 51 million in 1995 to 82 million, approximately, in 2023. The number of 15-24 years old is expected to grow up to 108 million in 2050.
  • The percentage of the elderly of 65 years of age or above in the Arab region is less than 5% in most countries with the exception of Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia. However, in absolute numbers/ value, the total number of the elderly is expected to rise from 22 million in 2023 to 31 million in 2030. Moreover, the percentage of the elderly population in the region is expected to grow to reach (6%) by 2030 and (11%) by 2050 totaling 74 million people.
  • Average life expectancy at birth increased from 60 years in 1990 to 69 years in 2023.

Proliferation and fertility

  • The total fertility rate in Arab countries dropped from 6.2 children per woman in 1990 to 3.1 children per woman in 2023. The highest total fertility rate in the region is recorded in Somalia with a rate of 6.2 children per woman, followed by Sudan with a rate of 4.4 children. The total fertility rate range is close to or falls below the replacement level (2.1 children per woman) in Lebanon, Kuwait, and Tunisia in 2023.


  • Voluntary migration, displacement and forced migration have a significant impact on the size and structure of the population in the Arab region.  In 2021, Arab countries hosted around 15% of the total number of immigrants and refugees around the world. Migration and forced displacement from Arab countries continued to grow until they reached an estimated 32.8 million people in 2020, 44% of whom remained within the region.

Current Challenges


  • Necessary resources needed to meet the basic and nonessential needs of the population vary in the Arab region, especially in light of the current difficult circumstances and challenges facing the region. These circumstances tend to impede the achievement of sustainable development where the impact of regional crises continues to lead to adverse consequences on the Arab region’s stride in the direction of sustainable development.
  • High unemployment rates, especially among the young, create a challenge to effectively use their energies and full potential to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend and activate their positive participation and involvement in the development process away from violence and extremism.
  • Quality of education outcomes and their compatibility with the needs of the labor market are poor; no attention or care given to reproductive rights; unachieved gender equality and unattained women’s empowerment; disparities in development amongst the regions; needs of the most vulnerable groups are poorly met, and finally, lack of comprehensive data and information related to all aspects and issues of population and development in general.
  • A number of factors could lead to increase pressure on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda if not well and adequately met in policies and practices. These factors may include such aspects as population mobility, unexpected levels of voluntary and forced migration, displacement, high birth rates and rapid demographic growth and lastly, modest human capital especially among the young in certain countries
  • The majority of countries in the region still have not invested adequately in education, health, skills and opportunities that young people of 15-24 years can attain, transforming this emerging youth body from being a defiance and a challenge to becoming a great opportunity.

The Road Ahead

  • Confronting these challenges requires unified and coordinated efforts that provide the best methods and services in the field of population and development and their respective interconnections in the Arab world.
  • Working to develop the population sector and provide assistance to develop national population policies and strategies in a way that goes in line with the needs of each country, and in a way that serves the launching of joint projects and programs among Arab countries.
  • The importance of raising the level of awareness about all population issues in the Arab countries and at all governmental, official, popular, public, private and other societal levels.
  • The need to link population issues to social development in a way that contributes to achieving a prosperous and affluent Arab society in all fields of life.