map of the Western Sahara; source: WR WESTERN SAHARA

general data of the country

General useful information
Note: some data are of constant value, while other are due to changes, fluctuations etc.
Nation and population
official name (short form): Sahara occidental
country code ISO: EH //; - FIPS: WI
location: Northwest Sahara
time zone: +0 UT
surface (land) area: 252120 = 97344 sq.mi //; - area incl. inland waters: = sq.mi
geographical position in extreme co-ordinates: North: 27° N / South: 21° N / East: 9° W / West: 17° W
borders (land): Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania
borders (coastline): Atlantic Ocean
climate: subtropical arid
independent since: 1976-02-27
type of government: annexed by Morocco in 1979
capital: Laayoune [El Aaiún]
administrative division: wilaya [provinces] (4)
population according to the latest census (1994): 252,146
total population according to the estimate of midyear 2001: 250,559; or: 306,000
population density: 1 per = 2.6 per sq.mi
population growth: 4% //; - doubling time: ca 20 years
birth rate: 47 per 1000
death rate: 18,5 per 1000
fertility rate: 7 children per female
maternal mortality: per 100,000
infant mortality (1-4 years): 149 per 1000
life expectancy: 46,5 years (male: 45,3; female: 47,6)
age breakdown: 0-14 years: 42% //; - 15-59 years: 45% //; - 60+ years: 3%
urbanisation: 91% //; - urbanisation growth: %
percentage of urban population in the greatest city: 65%
Ethnic composition, language, religion
ethnic groups: Sahrawi
languages: Arabic (Hassaniyah), French, Spanish
religious affiliation: Sunnî Muslim >78%; Roman Catholic <22%
daily food intake: calories per capita
population with access to safe water: %
people per physician: 2275
people per hospital bed:
Education, literacy
school enrolment: primary education 6-11 years: %
school enrolment: secondary education: %
school enrolment: tertiary education 20-24 years: %
adult literacy: % (male: %; female: %)
Economy and infrastructure
Economy and trade
currency: Moroccan dirham
annual inflation rate: %
population below poverty line: %
Gross Domestic Product: USD 300 per capita
GNI USD per capita //; - [ppp: ]
GDP growth: %
income: USD per capita
import: USD per capita //; - export: USD per capita
trade: USD per capita //; - or % of GDP
trade partners:
human development index: //; - position of the country in the world no.:
female labour force: %
unemployment: %
tourism: 0 million
Economic activities in agriculture, fisheries, industry, mining, services, energy
land use: arable land: <19% //; - grass land: 20% //; - wooded area: <1% //; - arid land and desert: ca 65%
agriculture: labour force: % //; - part of agriculture in GDP: <1%
agricultural products: grains
livestock (1000s): asses: / camels: / cattle: / goats: / horses: / pigs: - / poultry: / sheep: 29
fish catch: metric tonnes
industry: labour force: % //; - part of industry in GDP: 40%
industrial products: of no importance
mining products: phosphate rock, iron ore, copper
CO2 emission per capita:
services: labour force: % //; - part of services in GDP: ca 60%
energy use (kg per capita):
electricity use (per capita): 351
annual water use (per capita):
Traffic, communication
road network: 6200 km //; - of which paved: 23% //; - of which are motorways: 0 km
vehicles: 27 per 1000
railways: 0 km //; - railways passenger/km: -
navigable inland waterways: 0 km
ownership telephone: per 1000
ownership radio receivers: 137 per 1000
ownership tv-sets: 17 per 1000
newspaper circulation: per 1000
persons per post office:
personal computers: per 1000
Some physical landmarks
mountains: on maps as highest elevations: nameless peak of 823 m in the NE; and Zemmour 805 m
lowest point: Sebkhet Tah 55 m below sea level
lakes (natural): some salt lakes, like Sebkhet Aghzoumal
lakes (artificial reservoirs): none, or unknown
lakes (deepest): unknown
rivers (mainly dry rivers [wâdîs], like): Saguia el-Hamra, Oued el Khatt, Oued Assaq
canals: none, or unknown
waterfalls: none, or unknown
caves: longest system: none, or unknown / deepest:
islands: a few tiny ones south of Cape Barbas
deserts: western edge of the Sahara
other natural features:
Additional remarks, especially on the statistical information
other important features:
apart from physical landmarks most of the above figures are changeable, in most cases they date from the 1990's
most figures are unreliable; in some sources recent data are not stated separated from Morocco anymore
primary sources used for the general information:
BB CA EV PW WA WB WR, and some national statistical yearbooks
particulars concerning population data:

Detailed tables including growth statistics of the country, its division and towns are projected.

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Latest modification of this page on 2004-03-14 by Jan Lahmeyer
1999/2004 "populstat" site: Jan Lahmeyer