Population: Approximately 3.63 million inhabitants according
to 1984 census, including at least 260,000 aliens. Indigenous
population was increasing at one of world's highest annual growth
rates, estimated variously at between 3.4 percent and 4.5 percent.
Languages and Ethnic Groups: Official language Arabic. Government
policy discourages use of other languages, but English used extensively--even
by government for some purposes--and ranks as a second language.
Italian and French also spoken, and small minorities speak Berber
dialects. Arabic-speaking Sunni Muslims of mixed Arab and Berber
ancestry make up well over 90 percent of indigenous population.
Most of remainder Berbers, Tuaregs, and black Africans, and small
but long-settled Greek and Maltese communities. Expatriates, imported
under government contract to meet labor shortages, largely citizens
of other Muslim countries; many technical and professional positions
filled by East and West Europeans. Altogether, representatives
of more than 100 nationalities live in Libya.
Health: Number of medical doctors and dentists reportedly increased
sevenfold between 1970 and 1985, producing in case of doctors
ratio of 1 per 673 citizens. In 1985, about one-third of doctors
Libyan natives, remainder expatriate foreigners. Number of hospital
beds tripled in same time period. Among major health hazards endemic
in country in 1970s were typhoid and paratyphoid, infectious hepatitis,
leishmaniasis, rabies, meningitis, schistosomiasis, venereal diseases,
and principal childhood ailments. Progress included eradication
of malaria and significant gains against trachoma, tuberculosis,
and leprosy. In 1985 infant mortality rate was 84 per 1000. Life
expectancy for men 56 years, for women 59 years.
Literacy: In early 1980s, estimates of total literacy between
50 and 60 percent, about 70 percent for men and 35 percent for
women, but gap narrowing because of increased female school attendance.
Religion: Islam official religion; nearly entire population adheres
to Sunni branch of Islam.
Data as of 1987