Demographics of Tunisia

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The majority (98% [1]) of modern Tunisians are Arab[2] or arabized Berber, and are speakers of Tunisian Arabic. However, there is also a small (1% at most[1]) population of Berbers located in the Jabal Dahar mountains in the South East and on the island of Jerba. The Berbers primarily speak Berber languages, often called Shelha[3], or have shifted to Tunisian Arabic.

Nearly all Tunisians (98% of the population) are Muslim.[4] There has been a Jewish population on the southern island of Djerba and Tunis. There is a small indigenous Christian population.[5]



According to one genetic study while the vast majority of modern Tunisians identify themselves as Arabs, they are mainly the descendants of Berbers, the first peoples known to inhabit what is now Tunisia. Tunisians are also descended, to a lesser extent, from Semitic peoples (Phoenicians and Arabs) with a little less than 20% of the genetic material (Y-chromosome analysis) coming from the Middle East [6]. Other genetic studies found that "Tunisians did not show a significant level of differentiation with northern population"[7][8]. This suggests a fairly significant European input to Tunisian genetics compared to other neighbouring populations.

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