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People and Society






Rivalry between French and Italian interests in Tunisia culminated in a French invasion in 1881 and the creation of a protectorate. Agitation for independence in the decades following World War I was finally successful in getting the French to recognize Tunisia as an independent state in 1956. The country's first president, Habib BOURGUIBA, established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In November 1987, BOURGUIBA was removed from office and replaced by Zine el Abidine BEN ALI in a bloodless coup. Street protests that began in Tunis in December 2010 over high unemployment, corruption, widespread poverty, and high food prices escalated in January 2011, culminating in rioting that led to hundreds of deaths. On 14 January 2011, the same day BEN ALI dismissed the government, he fled the country, and by late January 2011, a "national unity government" was formed. Elections for the new Constituent Assembly were held in late October 2011, and in December it elected human rights activist Moncef MARZOUKI as interim president. The Assembly began drafting a new constitution in February 2012, and is aiming to have it ratified by the end of the year.


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People And Society

Noun Tunisian(s)
Adjective Tunisian

Ethnic groups
Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%

Arabic (official, one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce), Berber (Tamazight)

Muslim (Islam - official) 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%

Population World Ranking: 79
10,732,900 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
23.2% (male 1,274,348/female 1,193,131)
15-64 years
69.3% (male 3,638,014/female 3,728,294)
65 years and over
7.5% (male 390,055/female 405,344) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 30.5 years
Male 30.1 years
Female 30.9 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 120
0.964% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 115
17.28 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 169
5.87 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 158
-1.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 67% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
1.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
TUNIS (capital) 759,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.07 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.96 male(s)/female
Total population
0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 103
56 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 80
Total 24.98 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 28.58 deaths/1,000 live births
21.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 90
Total population 75.24 years
Male 73.2 years
Female 77.42 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 127
2.02 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 99
6.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
1.19 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density
2.1 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 158
Less than 0.1% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 133
2,400 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 135
Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 103
3.3% (2006)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 15
7.1% of GDP (2007)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 74.3%
Male 83.4%
Female 65.3% (2004 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 15 years
Male 14 years
Female 15 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 14
Total 30.7%
Male 31.4%
Female 29.3% (2005)


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  Tunisia (Tunis):

  GPS points from Tunisia (Tunis)

Ain Nekhal Gouvernorat De Kairouan

Qasr Bu Salim Gouvernorat De Sfax

Koudiat El Bateun Gouvernorat De Nabeul

Oued Haoud Abbes Gouvernorat De Sidi Bou Zid

`ayn Baz Gouvernorat De Siliana

`uyun As Sab` Gouvernorat De Sfax

Broga Kbira Gouvernorat De Tataouine
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