What Are the Countries That Make up the Arab States?

Countries of the Arab World According to the CIA and UNESCO

Cars drive on a bridge crossing the Nile River on February 9, 2006 in Central Cairo, Egypt. Cairo is still the heart of Egypt and is allegorically called "the Mother of World"
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The Arab world is considered an area of the world that encompasses the region from the Atlantic Ocean near northern Africa east to the Arabian Sea. Its northern boundary is at the Mediterranean Sea, while the southern portion extends to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean (map).

In general, this area is tied together as a region because all of the countries within it are Arabic-speaking. Some of the countries list Arabic as their only official language, while others speak it, in addition to other languages.

UNESCO identifies 23 Arab countries, while the Arab League—a regional multi-national organization of Arabic-speaking countries that was formed in 1945—has 22 members. The one state listed by UNESCO that is not part of the Arab League is Malta and is marked for easier recognition by an asterisk (*).

The following is a list of all these nations arranged in alphabetical order, including each country's population and language information. All population and language data were obtained from the CIA World Factbook and are from July 2018.

1) Algeria
Population: 41,657,488
Official Languages: Arabic and Berber or Tamazight (with French as lingua franca)

2) Bahrain
Population: 1,442,659
Official Language: Arabic

3) Comoros
Population: 821,164
Official Languages: Arabic, French, Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic; Comorian)

4) Djibouti
Population: 884,017
Official Languages: French and Arabic

5) Egypt
Population: 99,413,317
Official Language: Arabic

6) Iraq
Population: 40,194,216
Official Languages: Arabic and Kurdish. Turkmen (a Turkish dialect), Syriac (Neo-Aramaic), and Armenian are official in areas where speakers of these languages constitute a majority of the population

7) Jordan
Population: 10,458,413
Official Language: Arabic

8) Kuwait
Population: 2,916,467 (note: Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates the country's total population to be 4,437,590 for 2017, with immigrants accounting for more than 69.5%.)
Official Language: Arabic

9) Lebanon
Population: 6,100,075
Official Language: Arabic

10) Libya
Population: 6,754,507
Official Language: Arabic

11) Malta*
Population: 449,043
Official Languages: Maltese and English

12) Mauritania
Population: 3,840,429
Official Language: Arabic

13) Morocco
Population: 34,314,130
Official Languages: Arabic and Tamazight (a Berber language)

14) Oman
Population: 4,613,241 (note: as of 2017, immigrants make up approximately 45% of the total population)
Official Language: Arabic

15) Palestine (recognized as an independent country by UNESCO and Arab League but not recognized by CIA)
Population: 4,981,420 (with 42.8% of refugees)
Official Language: Arabic

16) Qatar
Population: 2,363,569
Official Language: Arabic

17) Saudi Arabia
Population: 33,091,113
Official Language: Arabic

18) Somalia
Population: 11,259,029 (note: this number is only an estimate, as population counting in Somalia is complicated due to nomads and refugees)
Official Languages: Somali and Arabic

19) Sudan
Population: 43,120,843
Official Languages: Arabic and English

20) Syria
Population: 19,454,263
Official Language: Arabic

21) Tunisia
Population: 11,516,189
Official Language: Arabic. (French is not official but a language of commerce and spoken by the majority of the population)

22) United Arab Emirates
Population: 9,701,3115
Official Language: Arabic

23) Yemen
Population: 28,667,230
Official Language: Arabic

Note: Wikipedia lists the Palestinian Authority—an administrative organization which governs parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—as an Arab state. Similarly, UNESCO lists Palestine as one of the Arab states and the State of Palestine is a member of the Arab League. However, the CIA World Factbook does not recognize it as an actual state and the population and language data are therefore from other sources.

On the other hand, the CIA lists Western Sahara as an independent country, with a population of 619,551 and languages such as Hassaniya Arabic and Moroccan Arabic. Yet, UNESCO and the Arab League don't recognize it as a country of its own, considering it a part of Morocco.


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Briney, Amanda. "What Are the Countries That Make up the Arab States?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/list-of-arab-states-1435128. Briney, Amanda. (2021, February 16). What Are the Countries That Make up the Arab States? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/list-of-arab-states-1435128 Briney, Amanda. "What Are the Countries That Make up the Arab States?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/list-of-arab-states-1435128 (accessed June 10, 2023).