Demographic Trends of Moroccan Society

Most people living in Morocco live west of the Atlas Mountains, a 2,400-kilometer range of mountains, which start off in northwest Africa and go through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The city of Tangier is a major port and is where many go to if they want to go to Spain. Casablanca is also a leading port in Morocco and is the center of Moroccan industry and commerce. Marrakech is the tourist center of the country. The seat of government is in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The religious and cultural center of the country is the city of Fez.

The Moroccan population is mainly made up of Arabs, a mixture of Arab-Berber and Sunni Muslims of Berber descent. There is also a group of people referred to as the Gnaoua and Haratin, which are a highly mixed or black race of people. There is a Jewish minority group in Morocco and a number of foreign residents of Spanish and French origin. The Berbers, indigenous people of North Africa, have made Morocco home for the last five thousand years. The Arab population found in Morocco today originated from the Arab people who conquered this territory in the 7th and 11th century. There are an estimated 34,343,219 people living in Morocco.

The official language of Morocco is classical Arabic. A large number of Moroccans speak Berber while other local inhabitants use a distinct dialect called Morocco-Arabic. The unofficial language of Morocco is French, which is used primarily for economics, commerce, government and for educational purposes. In the northern parts of the country about twenty thousand Moroccans speak Spanish. English is becoming Morocco’s second foreign language and is taught in schools from the fourth year onwards.

Children attending primary school receive free education in Morocco. Although education is compulsory many children, especially girls, do not attend school, which has led to high rates of illiteracy in the country. There are fourteen public universities of which Mohammed V, in Rabat, is the oldest and most prestigious in Morocco. The University of Karueein specializes in Islamic studies and Al-Akhawayn is the only private English medium University.

Population: 34,343,219 – as per July 2008 estimate

Age structure of population:

  • 30.5 percent between the ages of 0-14 years
  • 64.3 percent between the ages of 15-64 years
  • 5.2 percent are 65 years and older

Median age (the age which splits the population in half):

  • Total: 24.7 years
  • Male: 24.1 years
  • Female: 25.2 years

Population growth rate: 1.505 percent

Birth rate: 21.31 births per 1,000 of the population

Death rate: 5.49 deaths per 1,000 of the population

Ethnic groups:

  • Arab-Berber 99.1 percent
  • Other 0.7 percent
  • Jewish 0.2 percent

Languages: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French

Literacy (defined as aged 15 and over can read and write):

  • Total population: 52.3 percent
  • Male: 65.7 percent
  • Female: 39.6 percent

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