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Nationality: Noun--Algerian(s); adjective--Algerian.
Population (July 2003 est.): 32,818,500.
Annual growth rate (2003 est.): 1.65%. Birth rate--21.94 births/1,000, population; death rate--5.09 deaths/1,000 population.
Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%.
Religions: Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%. Languages: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects.
Education: Literacy (definition--age 15 and over can read and write)--total population, 70%; male 78.8%, female 61% (2003 est.) Health (2003 est.): Infant mortality rate--37.74 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth--total population, 70.54 years; male 69.14 years, female 72.01 years.
Work force (2003): 9.5 million. Government--32%; agriculture--14%; construction and public works--10%; industry--13.4%; trade--14.6%, other--16%.
Unemployment rate (2003 est.): 27%.
Ninety-one percent of the Algerian population lives along the Mediterranean coast on 12% of the country's total land mass. Forty-five percent of the population is urban, and urbanization continues, despite government efforts to discourage migration to the cities. About 1.5 million nomads and semi-settled Bedouin still live in the Saharan area. According to the National Office of Statistics (ONS) the data for the year 2002 indicate that 75% of the Algerian population is below 30.
Nearly all Algerians are Muslim, of Arab, Berber, or mixed Arab-Berber stock. A mostly foreign Roman Catholic community of about 45,000 exists, as do very small Protestant and Jewish communities. As of July 2003, there were about 880 American citizens in the country, the majority of whom live and work in the oil/gas fields of the south.
Algeria's educational system has grown dramatically since 1962; in the last 12 years, attendance has doubled to more than 5 million students. Education is free and compulsory to age 16. Despite government allocation of substantial educational resources, population pressures and a serious shortage of teachers have severely strained the system, as has terrorism attacks against the educational infrastructure during the 1990s. Modest numbers of Algerian students study abroad, primarily in Europe and Canada. In 2000, the government launched a major review of the country's educational system.
Housing and medicine continue to be pressing problems in Algeria. Failing infrastructure and the continued influx of people from rural to urban areas has overtaxed both systems. According to the UNDP, Algeria has one of the world's highest per housing unit occupancy rates for housing, and government officials have publicly stated that the country has an immediate shortfall of 1.5 million housing units.