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Discussion Paper Series - No. 11 - Urbanization and Urban Research in the Arab World
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Management Of Social Transformations - MOST

Discussion Paper Series - No. 11

Urbanization and Urban Research in the Arab World


Mostafa Kharoufi

The facts and opinions expressed in this series are those of the authors and do not engage the responsibility of UNESCO.

Table of Contents


The aim of this communication is to present the major trends of research on Arab towns based on an analysis of urban contexts in the Arab world. This retrospective on research is not complete, however, because urban studies are concerned with a large number of questions while the census are always made or dealt with selectively, often favouring research themes that bring an interdisciplinary convergence, leaving more selective studies on one side. This synthesis is an extension of a reflection carried out within the GURI (1) programme which benefited from the participation of specialists of urban studies in North Africa and Egypt.


The Arab world today is marked by the extraordinary expansion of towns and the changes brought about by urbanisation. For a population of 200 million, about half consists of town dwellers. Compared with other developing countries, this rate of urbanisation comes just after that of Latin America. The urban « explosion » that has occurred in several Arab countries is shown not only in the spectacular growth of the major cities and large regional centres (see Table in Annex), but also in the rapid development of small and medium-sized towns during the last twenty years.

Although these changes show a sustained increase in the Arab world (2) they give rise to a process of urbanisation that is far from uniform. The diversity of national situations and the existence of urban traditions in each country (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Syria), explain the heterogenity of the urban contexts.

This urbanisation, which is spatially differentiated, is a sustainable phenomenon that will intensify during the coming decades. Its development is linked to a high natural growth rate (high birth rate of 4.25% a year, and an increasingly lower death rate of 3.12%) and heavy migratory pressure, all features that can be found in developing countries as a whole. In fact, in all the Arab countries, urban population is growing at a higher rate than the national population. Two geographic groups should be distinguished, one where urbanisation is very high (above 70%), and one, where urbanisation is taking place at a slower rythm:

-     Firstly, there are the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia and Libya which have undergone spectacular urban transformations in just a few years, owing to petroleum revenues. The urban growth rates in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are among the highest in the world. In 1986, towns accounted for 90% of the total population.

-     Secondly, in the Maghreb countries (with the exception of Libya) which have unequal resources and are undergoing a process of social change and the countries that have been recently urbanised, for which the urban growth rate has been accelerated due to the effects of a wide variety of climatic or political crises (Sudan,Yemen, Mauritania).

1. Imbalances in the urban framework

In the Arab countries, the urban framework often appears to be in a state of disequilibrium due to geographical constraints. This common feature does not apply a similar pattern of development. Apart from the « City States » of the Gulf, where the presence of one metropolis dominates the whole urban system, varying degrees of unbalance can be noted in the other countries.

In the case of the Maghreb, despite initial restoration of the balance of regional disparities with regard to the concentration of city dwellers, the coastal regions still have the highest concentration of towns. With regard to the urban explosion that has marked the outskirts of big centres (Casablanca, Algiers, Tunis), one of the most significant facts is the intensification of relations between these centres and their outskirts.

Thus, in Morocco, where the number of towns has practically doubled in 16 years (128 in 1960-1966 to 240 in the 1982 census) and where the urban growth is an average of 4.28% per year, the seaboard axis Casablanca-Rabat-Kénitra groups 40% of the urban population of the country.

In Algeria, 95% of the inhabitants live in one sixth of the national territory (350,000 km²). In 1994, 447 urban built-up areas (3) with half the country's population (4) were concentrated almost exclusively in a limited seaboard area of 1,200 kms long by 100 kms wide.

In Tunisia, although the strong trend towards urbanisation (annual growth of 3.6%) is related partly to administrative divisions (5), town-dwellers make up 61% of the population as a whole (6). Urban structures... is found mainly in the provinces of Tunis and the Sahel (centre-east of the country) which have the largest economic facilities and contain more than 40% of the urban population. The Tunis district and the centre-east each represent more than a fifth of the country's population. These are the regions that have the highest growth rate (2.7% and 2.5% respectively), the north-west having the weakest.

In Egypt, where the town dwellers make up approximately 50% of the total population, the main part of the urban network, lying in a patchwork arrangement along the length of the Nile, is densely populated and is marked by Cairo's macrocephalous nature. Between 1976 and 1986, the last inter-census period, the urban population grew by 10% and the number of towns having more than 100,000 inhabitants rose from 20 to 24.

In Sudan, the highest densities are along the river network and the population that remains 70% rural. The development of Khartoum, which has become the main magnet of attraction for a major migrating movement, is the most important feature of urbanisation in this country.

2. An urban system in the throes of change

The last population censuses taken in Egypt (1986), Algeria (1985), Morocco (1982 and 1994), and Tunisia (1994), show a relative stabilization of growth of the large metropolises and a steadier growth of the small or medium-sized towns.

The urban system in Tunisia is now dominated by small-sized urban built-up areas. The extending of the urban perimeter of most large towns is accompanies by an increase in the size of the small and medium-sized towns, with urban communities of 10,000 to 40,000 inhabitants representing 40% of the urban population.

Following the example of Tunisia, Morocco is expereincing a significative growth in its small and medium-sized towns (6.8%), against a slowing down of the growth of the large metropolises (3.3% a year). In fact, the population of some towns has risen from 20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants, corresponding to a gain of 12 points that represents a migratory gain much higher than that of Casablanca (Escallier 1995).

Mauritania, unlike the other Maghreb countries, es experiencing a relatively moderate population growth (2.08% per year) because of a continuing high death rate. Town dwellers represent about 32% of the population, in spite of factors (lack of rainfall and forced population migrations after the conflict with Senegal in April 1989) that have accentuated the movement towards urbanisation. However, during the last 20 years the development of iron deposits entailing amenities for new centres, the trend towards the sedentarisation of nomads, and the tertiarisation of the economy have together contributed to the considerable growth of the towns, especially Nouakchott.

The case of Egypt is rather special, because although Cairo continues to dominate the national urban system (approximately 12 million inhabitants, that is 12.6% of the total population and 28.8% of the urban population), there has been a growth of small and medium-sized towns during the last three decades. In fact, the results of the last census published by CAPMAS (Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics) reveal a stabilization in the growth of large towns in Egypt: Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and Suez (7). These provincial cities have seen their population go from 49% to 45.9% of the total population during the inter-census period (1976-1986) (8). The urban centres of the rural provinces have benefited from this stabilization, mainly in the towns of Upper Egypt that harbour 25.5% of the urban population of the country against 24% in 1976, the centres in the Delta which have increased their growth from 26% to 27.1% and the towns of frontier districts which gained 6%. This trend is illustrated by the example of several urban centres of the province of Minia, that were left on the fringes for a long time and have expierenced major increase between the last two operations.

The small towns are therefore fulfilling an increasing number of functions due to the development of service activities which include administration, education and health. Through decentralisation and the downward migration of civil servants and managerial personnel, they have acquired the position of administrative, commercial and even manufacturing centres

In contrast to Morocco, a country of large towns, and Tunisia, where small towns are particularly numerous, the urban system in Algeria would appear to be fairly balanced with a relatively dense network of small and medium-sized towns. Towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants represented two thirds of the urban system at the time of the 1977 census.

Table 1

Growth rate in the province of Minia (Middle Egypt)


in 1986
Annual growth rate

1960-1976 in %
Annual growth rate

1976-1986 in %
179 136
99 062
50 807
Bani Mazzar
47 964
Abu Qirqas
54 629
28 986
Dir Muas
25 518
62 404

Source : Atteya Khadija, 1988, Al-tahaddur wa al-tawzi' al-haramî li mudun misr (Urbanisation and hierarchy in Egyptian towns), 1976-1986, Symposium on urban expansion in Egypt, Cairo, pp. 34-36.

In Libya, urban centres with 2,000 to 30,000 inhabitants have seen record levels of growth (often more than 10% a year) and their size in national terms has risen from 15% in 1964 to 23.7% in 1984. Alongside this, 36% of the urban population is concentrated in the medium-sized towns (from 30,000 to 100,000 inhabitants) (Chaline, 1990, pp.29-30). The appearance of new urban centres and the development of existing small towns has taken place mostly in the regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, the two major economic areas. In spite of a volontarist policy during the last 30 years aimed at limiting big urban concentrations, the bipolar system around Tripoli and Benghazi has been considerably strengthened.

In the Maghreb and the Near East, the urbanisation movement goes together with new forms of activity. The small town, pole of diffusion of these new reference models, very obviously influences the development of the rural world due to the development of transport that facilitates pendular migrations between town and country.

The dynamism of small and middle-sized agglomerates is linked in part to the changes in the migratory pattern during the last twenty years. These changes have modified, not only the repartition of the population in Maghreb but also in Egypt and Sudan.

3. The emergence of new migratory patterns

The appearance of new types of population mobility during the 1980s in the Arab countries is linked to the transformation of the relations between town and country. If, in the 1960s, faced with the rural exodus, the big urban centres such as Cairo, Casablanca, Tunis, Algiers, etc., offered the possibility of integration to the migrants, this is no longer the case since the end of the 1970s. In fact, these urban centres find it difficult to absorb the increasing flow of migrants and a slowing down of emigration towards the big urban centres can be observed.

At the same time, small and medium-sized towns have spread significant spatial zones of influence that largely polarize the burgeoning inter-urban migrations. For 20 years, various strategies have been worked out in this way in the rural zones: pendular migrations, migrations abroad, development of intermediary towns as well as new agglomerates. One can equally emphasize the important role of States in the development of these poles, both new and old, as well as their efforts towards decentralisation, mainly through the biais of descending migrations of state employees.

In the petrol producing Arab countries, international migrations have largely contributed to the urban expansion. The high growth rate which marks the towns of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is due basically to the flux of foreign workers from Arab countries (Palestinians, Egyptians, Yemenites, Syrians) and from Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines and Republic of Korea).

4. The growing importance of the urban theme

For the last twenty years, the high growth rate of Arab towns has brought about a recrudescence of research around the urban theme. This research tries to capture the physical, economic, social and cultural dimensions. The recent evolution of urban research and the periodisation of its main trends indicate that, apart from Egypt where the accumulation of knowledge is traditional, the upthrust of urban concern in Maghreb and Machrek is an awareness that has existed only since 1975 (Liauzu, 1987; Troin, 1988; Kharoufi, 1994). To make a complete account would be a difficult task because of the difficulty of gaining access to certain information. In addition, the study of the complex process of urbanisation calls for several disciplines (sociology, geography, political science, architecture, anthropology) that separately are unable to explain the problems linked to urbanisation.

Table 2

Urban studies in the Arab world

Country/Region studied
Number of studies
Middle East
Saudi Arabia
U. A. E.

Source : Liauzu Claude. Société urbaines contemporaines du Maghreb et Moyen-Orient, 1975-1985 - Essai de bibliographie critique, Paris Institut du Monde Arabe, 1987.

The classic themes concerned with population such as migration, growth or development are completed by the analysis of the internal dynamics of urban societies. These questions have not always been taken into consideration with the same intensity. The national institutes concerned with the development of towns have often oriented their action towards satisfying housing needs.

The interaction between research and the economic, social and political context of the countries studied can often be noted. In fact, university research and official preoccupations are often linked to the relationship between states and societies. Thus, in several Arab countries, the concerns of the state with regard to urbanism are heightened when socio-political problems occur: creation of commissions where decision-makers, planners and experts have concentrated their attention on urban problems.


Doctoral theses could constitute an indicator of trends of urban studies. In French and Anglo-Saxon universities, which have accepted post-graduates from Arab countries who are preparing doctoral theses, the analysis of research programmes indicates a net advance of the urban theme; thus, the number of theses completed in France on towns in developing countries more than doubled between 1970 and 1980.

In France, the place of the Arab-Muslim world in doctoral research (North Africa and Middle East included) is important because this geographic zone represents more than 50% of theses (Thesam IV, 1992; Leimdorfer and Vidal, 1992). Over a period of twenty years (1971-1991) and based on a body of 6500 titles, a progression can be noted of urban studies which can be explained as much by the wide choice as by the autonomy of the research units in France (Leimdorfer and Santo-Martino, 1992).

Monographic studies on a town, a district or part of a town have the major place. In fact, half of the repertoried theses have the town as their subject. The most studied urban areas remain however the big metropolis: Cairo, Beirut, Amman, Khartoum, Tunis, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, Rabat, Algiers, Oran, Annaba, etc..

Concerning the countries of North Africa, research in geography on the urban theme represents more than one thesis in two. This massive participation dominates the other disciplines such as urbanism (15%), sociology (13.4%), economy (7%), history (7%), law (1.2%), literature and psychoanalysis (0.5%) (Leimdorfer and Vidal 1992, 13).

Egypt stands out with an urban research tradition that goes back to the second half of the last century. Thus, in a bibliographic repertory published in 1925 by the Association des Géographes (founded in 1875) and having 8753 titles, the theme of the town takes an important place (El-Kadi 1992). Architects, who were driven by the desire to safeguard historic monuments, were at the origin of discussions where the modernists and traditionalists confronted each other about the conservation of medieval buildings. However, the emergence of a specialization in research on towns dates from the end of the 1960s and corresponds to the beginning of urban geography being taught as a discipline.


When studying the different themes touched on in research in the Arab countries, it can be noted that several subjects are rarely dealt with, even absent, although they could bring about a better understanding of urban dyanamics at a time when towns are meeting head on the consequences of the disengagement of the state.

1. Social urban movements

A better knowledge of the dynamics of Arab towns can be obtained by the study of social urban movements that have continued to grow during the last two decades. In fact, various social groups (middle classes, workers movements) are more and more implicated in the process of historic change. Today, the role of these groups in the democratisation movement is linked to the effects of the crisis of which they were the direct victims: unemployment of qualified people, lowering of earnings and above all blocking of social mobility.

Social movements influenced by various ideologies are presently developing. The creation of leagues for human rights in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait and Morocco as well as the proliferation of cultural associations have inspired reflexions which could help to obtain a better knowledge of the structure of Arab urban societies. In fact, the associative phenomenon represents an instrument of integration and a space for freedom by which the civil society proves its existence and participates in the management of a country.

2. Management of Towns

During the last two decades, large-scale public planning policies have been developed, indicating a desire for decentralisation and the implication of the towns' populations in their management. From the middle of the 1970s, the innovative movement seen by observers in Morocco and Algeria as well as in Tunisia and Egypt is decentralisation (al-lâmarkaziyya). Linked to a liberal principle of government, it is supposed to have inspired the renewing of relations between the state and the citizen.

The years 1974 for Egypt, 1975 for Tunisia and 1976 for Morocco stand out because of important announcements regarding reforms concerning the life of local collectivities at the economic and legislative level. These reforms affect the whole of the political system and include election organization, communal administration and the renewing of municipal councils. Research has not sufficiently clarified the relation between the state structures and the urban civil society in the Arab world. The theme of management of towns, that at the same time covers optimisation of management of political and administrative structures and the creation of responsible institutions for the promotion of democratic principles and election processes, is rarely dealt with.

3. Urban marginalisation and integration

Several research projects conclude on « the evidence of urban pauperization ». If a small number of the rural population who have moved to the towns have made a success of their integration in the urban economy, thus improving their living conditions, the majority of the migrants live in precarious conditions which contributes to reinforcing the phenomena of pauperization and of marginalisation in the towns. The application of plans for structural adjustment, accompanied by devices to help disadvantaged people gives us to understand that poverty is now included in the social policy of public authorities. However, the progressive reduction of subventions for essential products aggravates the material difficulties of the most impoverished in the social strata and reduces buying power at the intermediary social levels.

The general economic recession seems to create a rupture between the prosperity linked to the oil revenues and the relative national wealth involved and to which the consumption habits of town dwelllers adapts only with difficulty. The resulting lack of social and spatial integration creates contrasts between the forms of urban development. These differ in their aspect, their level of equipment, and the existence of public services and the social status of their inhabitants. A more detailed study of these components remains to be done.

4. Urban crises

The notion of « urban crisis » covers complex and fragmentary situations which appear, according to the environment, by the deficiency of a particular sector (housing, transport, etc.). One can see « a disproportion between the objectives of urban instruments (directive schemes, urban framework schemes) developed mainly for big towns, and the little effect that their proposals have on the crisis in the towns » (Naciri, 1992).

Concerning the failure of urban structures in big metropolis, several studies have been published, but the consequences of the economic crisis on the small and medium sized towns often remain unknown. Research more often reflects the urban development of Arab countries which translates by a still large marginalisation of small-sized towns. However, in Egypt and Morocco, the creation of provincial universities has recently contributed to the production of monographies (Master's theses) on secondary towns.

5. Issues related to the informal sector

The economic transition that has been underway for several decades in Arab towns is distinguished by the ascendency of the tertiary sector although industrial employment remains low. Apart from the rich oil producing countries where the GNP still compensates for the demographic progression, most of the Arab countries have an imbalance between the offer of and the demand for employment as well as development of the informal sector. In fact, in the urban environment the latter has conquered vast spaces, in various forms, from the pheripheries to the town centres. The informal sector has today become a full component of a hypertrophied urban economy.

Since the middle of the 1980s, informal activities have constituted one of the major themes of research initiated by external demands and in the case of Egypt and Morocco supported by funds from the United Nations Development Programme. The informal sector is also the goal of significant field work from the mid-1980s (CAPMAS 1985; Mahdi and Mashhûr 1990; Salahdine 1988 and 1991). The first field research undertaken in Egypt for example, was thanks to CAPMAS which, in 1985, studied this sector of the economy. In Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, studies have revealed the implication of a growing fringe of the city population in the informal sector of the economy (Salahdine 1988, Charmes, 1983). Anthropological studies have proved to be interesting and try to define this, as yet, little studied phenomena.

It is through these field surveys that one can understand the integration process of populations exercising economic activities qualified as « marginal » or « unstructured ». The study of this aspect of urban life would enable us to understand how a population which lives on the fringe of the « structured » economy fits into its environment.

6. Unauthorized habitation

In most of the Arab countries, urban extension is accompanied by a proliferation of unauthorized housing. For the urbanists today, this sort of housing constitutes an important form of the organization of space and of production in the building context. In Cairo it shelters 1,600,000 inhabitants (20% of the capital's population) and in Morocco, 346,000 people. The present crisis, accentuated by the disengagement of the State concerning investments, creation of jobs and urban planning explains the development of unauthorized housing. The part of the population of town origin in the statistics for unauthorized housing should therefore be studied.

7. The old town centres

The attention of researchers has not been brought to the situation of town centres and of their future, taking into account the deterioration of the buildings and the living conditions of their inhabitants. In the Maghreb, the traditonal prestige of the medina and the faciltities for work and housing that it offers have brought about an increase in its density, a change in the social composition of its districts and a deterioration of the living conditions of its inhabitants because of the delapidation of the drainage system and servicing.

Also, at the cultural level, the consequences of the appearance of a service sector based on international models in the old town structures has hardly been studied.

8. Migration and urbanisation in the small and medium-sized towns

Research has often dealt with migratory movements in general and zones of gravitation (such as the metropolis) in particular, when smaller centres have not benefited from much atttention. However, since the end of the 1980s, researchers are interested in small and medium-sized towns and their sites of gravitation. Migration towards large towns in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt is accompanied by the growing attraction exercised by the small and medium-sized towns which are strengthened by local influences. In fact, in Egypt we can see a « redistribution » of migration towards the villages situated around the towns, some of which are being urbanized.

These phenomena are studied very little as are the seasonal migrations linked to certain urban activities such as tourism. Recent research has shown that in Morocco the small towns have appeared in the urban network during the inter-census period of 1971-1982. In certain of these towns, an important economic activity gives place to a rapid growth and brings about a demographic evolution that is very different to that of cities with a marginal economic development. These new economic centres contribute to the diversification of the migratory field and announce profound changes in the organisation of space.

Around the question of small and medium-sized towns, of their place in the spatial disposition and the functions that they ensure, very few research results have been published. It remains to give prominence to the growing role of these cities in the urban process in the Arab world and in the changes in urban and rural societies (sedentary and nomad).

9. Crises, migration and town planning

Several countries in the Arab world know, or have known, forced migratory movements which have overwhelmed their demographic landscape. It is the case of Sudan where since 1983-1984, approximately 5 million people were obliged to change their place of residence; of Mauritania, at the time of the conflict with Senegal in April 1989; or again of the Gulf region in 1991. These examples illustrate a situation where ecological, food or political crises set off forced migrations often in the direction of urban centres.

This demographic aspect is still very little dealt with in research on mobility. However, following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, the Near East saw the biggest forced migraiton of populations of these last decades: 4 or 5 million people had to leave the Gulf region.

The vastness of this migration has shattered the migratory patterns in the Near East putting the countries which furnish labour in a difficult economic and social situation. Thus, at the end of 1990, more than a million people (250,000 of which were Jordanian and Palestinian) surged towards Jordan, while at the same time, Egypt accommodated 865,000 of its nationals.

Research undertaken in the 1990s in Jordan and Sudan has begun to study the role of crises in the modification of migratory fields and in exponential urban growth (Seteney, 1994).


Migration, spatial redistribution of populations and urbanisation inevitably affect the population structure of Arab countries and are perceived by public authorities and researchers as major problems in as much as the consequences are important to development. The study of these problems supposes a pluridisciplinary approach and analyses at two levels: the national level, to draw up a matrix and general trends and the regional level, to find the strategies for individual families. Demographic surveys undertaken at the national level are useful but sometimes mask extremely diverse situations. They would gain by being completed by more precise surveys, of an ahthropological nature, and on a more limited geographic scale. The census of population and habitation are precious quantitative information for researchers and deciders, even if the questions are often treated globally.

Conscious of the limits of global analyses, the statistical services, which conduct these frequent surveys on a sample (this is the case in most of the countries of the Maghreb and in Egypt), attempt to orient research towards new methods of specific measures for urban problems, notably the practice of one-off surveys spread out in time. In fact, if the global approaches are necessary to get a hold on the general trends of the urban process, they sometimes pass in silence certain elements of the urbanisation process such as the migratory trajectories of individuals or urban activities known as « informal ».

The evaluation of urban research in the Arab world does however bring to light the weaknesses at the level of the means made available to researchers as well as the too rare field studies. Managers and planners are often confronted with phenomena that they have not been able to foresee. This is partly due to the tools of analysis, conception and realization which do not allow them to learn about the often complex urban realities.


(1) The Global Urban Research Initiative (GURI) is an international network regrouping thirteen research centres in developing countries. The project is coordinated by Richard Stren, Director of the Center for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto (Canada) and financed by the Ford Foundation. Three works have already been published in the framework of this programme: Urban Research in the Developing World. Africa (1994); Asia (1994); and Latin America (1995).

(2) The Arab world which counted 25% towndwellers in 1950 and 30% in 1970, will attain 66% at the end of the century; see CHALINE. Les villes du monde arabe. Paris, Masson, 1990, p.18.

(3) Against 211 in 1977.

(4) Against 31% in 1966.

(5) Thus, at the time of the last inter-census period (1984-1994), 86 new communes had been created.

(6) Against 52.8% at the time of the census in 1984.

(7) The growth rate for Cairo and Alexandria went respectively from 2.5% and 2.6% between 1960 and 1976 to 1.7% and 2.3% between 1976 and 1986.

(8) This in spite of the growth of the towns of Port Said and Suez evaluated respectively at 3.4% and 4.1% and linked to the return of families who deserted the Suez Canal zone because of the wars with Israel.


Growth rate of urban and rural populations and
populations of the most densely populated towns

Rural %
Urban %
Rural Pop.
Urban Pop.
No. in 000
Algeria 1980 56,6 43,3 2,1 4,6 1992 3.300
  1990 48,3 51,7 1,1 4,4    
Morocco 1980 59,0 41,0 1,2 4,0 1992 3.000
  1990 53,9 46,1 1,8 3,6    
Tunisia 1980 49,7 50,3 1,5 3,7 1992 1.900
  1990 44,0 56,0 0,8 3,2    
Libya 1980 30,4 69,6 - 0,7 7,0 1992 2.900
  1990 17,6 82,4 - 1,6 5,0    
Mauritania 1980
- 0,3
1990 760
Egypt 1980 56,2 43,8 2,2 2,6 1992 9.000
  1990 56,1 43,9 2,4 2,4    
Sudan 1980 80,0 20,0 2,8 4,1 1992 2.100
  1990 77,5 22,5 2,5 4,3    
Jordan 1980 40,1 59,9 0,2 4,0 1990 1.020
  1990 32,0 68,0 0,9 4,4    
Iraq 1980 34,5 65,5 1,1 4,6 1992 4.200
  1990 28,2 71,8 1,2 4,2    
Kuwait 1980 9,8 90,2 - 3,7 7,7 1992 1.100
  1990 4,2 95,8 - 3,6 4,8    
Saudi 1980 33,2 66,8 0,8 7,7 1992 2.200
Arabia 1990 22,7 77,3 0,2 4,8    
U.A.E. 1980 28,5 71,5 10,1 15,8 1990 260
  1990 19,1 80,9 - 0,7 4,3    
Bahrain 1980 19,6 80,4 3,6 5,2 1992 130
  1990 17,1 82,9 1,8 3,5    
Qatar 1980 14,4 85,6 2,5 6,5 1990 329
  1990 10,1 89,9   4,0    
Oman 1980 92,4 7,6 4,8 8,9 1990 70
  1990 89,0 11,0 3,4 7,4    
Yemen 1980 79,8 20,2 2,3 7,4 1990 360
  1990 71,1 28,9 2,4 7,0    
Syria 1980 53,3 46,7 2,5 3,9 1992 1.900
  1990 49,8 50,2 2,9 4,3    
Lebanon 1980 26,6 73,4 - 5,1 1,2 1992 1.600
  1990 16,2 83,8 - 4,6 1,7    

Source : United Nations Statistical Yearbook, Washington, 1993


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About the author

Mostafa Kharoufi is a sociologist and geographer from Morocco. Researcher at the 'Centre d'études et de documentation économique juridique et social' (CEDEJ), Cairo, then at the 'Institut de recherche sur le Maghreb contemporain (IRMC) in Tunis, he is presently working with the 'Conseil national de la Jeunesse et de l'avenir (CNJ) in Rabat. Among his publications are Les nouvelles formes de la mobilité dans le monde arabe and Société et espace dans un quartier du Caire (Dar -el-Salâm): secteur 'informel' et intégration urbains.

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