Facts about Yemen

World Facts Index
YemenNorth 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.

Geography of Yemen

Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
15 00 N, 48 00 E
total: 527,970 sq km
land: 527,970 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)
water: 0 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries:
total: 1,746 km
border countries: Oman 288 km, Saudi Arabia 1,458 km
1,906 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
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
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

Population of Yemen

23,013,376 (July 2008 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)
Median age:
16.6 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
59.88 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.12 years
male: 60.23 years
female: 64.11 years
Fertility rate:
6.58 children born/woman
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% 


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
local short form: Al Yaman
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
19 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah)
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])
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
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ali Abdallah SALIH; Vice President Maj. Gen. Abd al-Rab Mansur al-HADI
head of government: Prime Minister Ali Muhammad MUJAWWAR; Deputy Prime Ministers Rashid Muhammad al-ALAMI, Alawi Salah al-SALAMI, Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah al-SUFAN
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections: president elected by direct, popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term; recently extended from a five-year term by constitutional amendment); vice president appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
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)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court


Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, reported average annual growth in the range of 3-4% from 2000 through 2007. Its economic fortunes depend mostly on declining oil resources, but the country is trying to diversify its earnings. In 2006 Yemen began an economic reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. As a result of the program, international donors pledged about $5 billion for development projects. In addition, Yemen has made some progress on reforms over the last year that will likely encourage foreign investment. Oil revenues probably increased in 2007 as a result of higher prices.

$56.24 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 13.5%
industry: 47.2%
services: 39.3%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
5.83 million
Labor force - by occupation:
most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force
revenues: $5.616 billion
expenditures: $5.719 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0%
crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles and leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; small aluminum products factory; cement
grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat (mildly narcotic shrub), coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish
Export partners:
China 37.3%, Chile 19.6%, Thailand 12.8%, Japan 5.6%, US 4.2% 
food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Import partners:
UAE 13.4%, Saudi Arabia 10.6%, China 9%, Kuwait 4.6%, India 4.6%, Turkey 4.5%, Russia 4.2%
Yemeni rial (YER)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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