Demographics of Lebanon

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Lebanon, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

About 91% of the population of Lebanon includes numerous Muslim and Christian sects. Because the matter of religious balance is a sensitive political issue, a national census has not been conducted since 1932, before the founding of the modern Lebanese state. Consequently there is an absence of accurate data on the relative percentages of the population of the major religions and groups.[1]

Contents

Ethnic groups

The Lebanese

Ethnic background is an important factor in Lebanon. The country encompasses a great mix of cultural, religious, and ethnic groups which have been building up for more than 6,000 years. Although most of the population is today considered Arab, in the sense that Arabic is the national language, the ethnic self-designations vary. Whereas the Arabs first reached Lebanon in the 3rd century AD when the Ghassanids (mostly christian Arabs) migrated north, the majority of the maronite population is non-Arab in terms of ancestry. The predominant cultural backgrounds and ancestry of the Lebanese vary from Arab, Aramaean (Syrian) to Canaanite (Phoenician), and Greek (Byzantine). Lebanese are overall genetically similar to the other modern Levantine populations, such as the Syrians and the Palestinians.[2] The question of ethnic identity has come to revolve more around aspects of cultural self-identification more than descent. Religious affiliation has also become a substitute in some respects for ethnic affiliation.[3] most Lebanese are nationalist Arabs like Ameen Rihani. Generally it can be said that all religious sects comprise many different ethnic backgrounds, and that clear ethnic boundaries are difficult to define. Still, religious and ethnic distinctions sometimes coincide, since religious sects have tended to marry within the group, thus preserving not only religious but ethnic characteristics.

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