Flag of Yemen

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North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became South Yemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to a delimitation of their border.


Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates:

15 00 N, 48 00 E


total: 527,970 sq km
land: 527,970 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Perim, Socotra, the former Yemen Arab Republic (YAR or North Yemen), and the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY or South Yemen)

Land boundaries:

total: 1,746 km
border countries: Oman 288 km, Saudi Arabia 1,458 km


1,906 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east


narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb 3,760 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west

Land use:

arable land: 2.91%
permanent crops: 0.25%
other: 96.84% (2005)

Irrigated land:

5,500 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

sandstorms and dust storms in summer

Environment - current issues:

very limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Geography - note:

strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes


21,456,188 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 46.4% (male 5,067,762/female 4,881,333)
15-64 years: 51% (male 5,568,078/female 5,375,263)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 275,878/female 287,874) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 16.6 years
male: 16.6 years
female: 16.6 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

3.46% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

42.89 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

8.3 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 59.88 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 64.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 54.98 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 62.12 years
male: 60.23 years
female: 64.11 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

6.58 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

12,000 (2001 est.)


noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni

Ethnic groups:

predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asians, Europeans


Muslim including Shaf'i (Sunni) and Zaydi (Shi'a), small numbers of Jewish, Christian, and Hindu




definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 50.2%
male: 70.5%
female: 30% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
conventional short form: Yemen
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
local short form: Al Yaman
former: Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]

Government type:




Administrative divisions:

19 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Abyan, 'Adan, Ad Dali', Al Bayda', Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, 'Amran, Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Sa'dah, San'a', Shabwah, Ta'izz
note: for electoral and administrative purposes, the capital city of Sanaa is treated as an additional governorate


22 May 1990 (Republic of Yemen established with the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and the Marxist-dominated People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]); note - previously North Yemen had become independent in November of 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and South Yemen had become independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Unification Day, 22 May (1990)


16 May 1991; amended 29 September 1994 and February 2001

Legal system:

based on Islamic law, Turkish law, English common law, and local tribal customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

a new constitutional amendment ratified on 20 February 2001 created a bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: last held 27 April 2003 (next to be held in April 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - GPC 228, Islah 47, YSP 7, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party 2, independents 14

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court

Economy - overview:

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, has reported meager growth since 2000. Its economic fortunes depend mostly on oil. Oil revenues increased in 2005 due to higher prices. Yemen was on an IMF-supported structural adjustment program designed to modernize and streamline the economy, which led to substantial foreign debt relief and restructuring. However, government dedication to the program waned in 2001 for political reasons. Yemen is struggling to control excessive spending and rampant corruption. The people have grown increasingly upset over the economic situation. In July 2005, a reduction in fuel subsidies sparked riots; over 20 Yemenis were killed and hundreds were injured.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$17.23 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$13.74 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.4% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$800 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 13.3%
industry: 47.9%
services: 38.8% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

5.83 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force

Unemployment rate:

35% (2003 est.)

Population below poverty line:

45.2% (2003)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 25.9% (2003)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

33.4 (1998)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

9.6% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

14.3% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $5.616 billion
expenditures: $5.719 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

35.9% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish


crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles and leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; small aluminum products factory; cement; commercial ship repair

Industrial production growth rate:

3% (2003 est.)

Electricity - production:

3.848 billion kWh (2003 est.)

Electricity - consumption:

2.827 billion kWh (2003 est.)

Oil - production:

387,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

80,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - exports:

370,300 bbl/day (2003)

Oil - proved reserves:

4.37 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

478.6 billion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

$1.282 billion (2005 est.)


$6.387 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish

Exports - partners:

Thailand 33.4%, China 30.5%, Singapore 7.8% (2004)


$4.19 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports - partners:

UAE 12.2%, Saudi Arabia 9.7%, China 8.8%, France 7.3%, India 4.4%, US 4.4%, Kuwait 4.2% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$5.858 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$5.689 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$2.3 billion (2003-07 disbursements)

Currency (code):

Yemeni rial (YER)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

798,100 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

1.072 million (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: since unification in 1990, efforts have been made to create a national telecommunications network
domestic: the national network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, tropospheric scatter, and GSM cellular mobile telephone systems
international: country code - 967; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 2 Arabsat; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and Djibouti

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 6, FM 1, shortwave 2 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

7 (plus several low-power repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

166 (2004)

Internet users:

220,000 (2005)


45 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 16
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 29
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 4 (2005)


gas 88 km; oil 1,174 km (2004)


total: 67,000 km
paved: 7,705 km
unpaved: 59,295 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

total: 5 ships (1000 GRT or over) 19,920 GRT/26,277 DWT
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 5 (Bolivia 1, Cambodia 2, North Korea 1, Panama 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Aden, Nishtun

Military branches:

Army (includes Special Forces), Naval Forces and Coastal Defenses (includes Marines), Air Force (includes Air Defense Forces), Republican Guard (2002)

Military - note:

a Coast Guard was established in 2002

Disputes - international:

Yemen protests Eritrea fishing around the Hanish Islands awarded to Yemen by the ICJ in 1999; Saudi Arabia still maintains the concrete-filled pipe as a security barrier along sections of the border with Yemen in 2004 to stem illegal cross-border activities; Yemen protests Saudi erection of a concrete-filled pipe as a security barrier in 2004 to stem illegal cross-border activities in sections of the boundary

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 63,511 (Somalia) (2005)