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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. Fighting in the northwest between the government and Huthi rebels, a group seeking a return to traditional Zaydi Islam, began in 2004 and has since resulted in six rounds of fighting -... See More



 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: 527,968 sq km
Land: 527,968 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)

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 (Rank: 60)

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:

 6,800 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 4.1 cu km (1997)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 6.63 cu km/yr (4%/1%/95%)
Per capita: 316 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Sandstorms and dust storms in summer

Volcanism: Yemen experiences limited volcanic activity; Jebel at Tair (Jabal al-Tair, Jebel Teir, Jabal al-Tayr, Jazirat at-Tair) (elev. 244 m), which forms an island in the Red Sea, erupted in 2007 after awakening from dormancy; other historically active volcanoes include Harra of Arhab, Harras of Dhamar, Harra es-Sawad, and Jebel Zubair, although many of these have not erupted in over a century

Environment - Current Issues:

 Limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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

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 Noun: Yemeni(s)
Adjective: Yemeni

Ethnic Groups:

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


 Arabic (official)


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


 24,133,492 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 43% (male 5,285,218/female 5,094,736)
15-64 years: 54.4% (male 6,666,600/female 6,459,414)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 298,175/female 329,349) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 18.1 years
Male: 18 years
Female: 18.2 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.647% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 33.49 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 7.02 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 32% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 4.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 SANAA (capital) 2.229 million (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 210 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 55.11 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 59.7 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 50.29 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 63.74 years
Male: 61.7 years
Female: 65.87 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.63 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 5.6% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.3 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital Bed Density:

 0.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 72% of population
Rural: 57% of population
Total: 62% of population
Urban: 28% of population
Rural: 43% of population
Total: 38% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 94% of population
Rural: 33% of population
Total: 52% of population
Urban: 6% of population
Rural: 67% of population
Total: 48% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 12,000 (2001 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 43.1% (2003)

Education Expenditures:

 5.2% of GDP (2008)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 50.2%
Male: 70.5%
Female: 30% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 9 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 7 years (2005)

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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:



 Name: Sanaa
Geographic coordinates: 15 21 N, 44 12 E
Time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 21 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Abyan, 'Adan (Aden), Ad Dali', Al Bayda', Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Amanat al 'Asimah (Sanaa City), 'Amran, Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Raymah, Sa'dah, San'a' (Sanaa), Shabwah, Ta'izz


 22 May 1990 (Republic of Yemen was 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 became independent in November 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and became a republic with the overthrow of the theocratic Imamate in 1962; South Yemen became 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:

 Mixed legal system of Islamic law, English common law, and customary law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Ali Abdallah SALIH (since 22 May 1990); Vice President Abd al-Rabuh Mansur HADI (Maj. Gen.); note - on 24 November 2011 President SALIH signed a GCC-brokered agreement to step down

Head of government: Interim Prime Minister Muhammad Salim BA SINDWAH (since 27 November 2011)

Cabinet: on 27 November 2011, Vice President HADI requested Interim Prime Minister Muhammad BA SINDWAH to form a new government following the resignation of President SALIH on 24 November

Elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held on 20 September 2006 (next to be held in February 2012); vice president appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president

Election results: Ali Abdallah SALIH elected president; percent of vote - Ali Abdallah SALIH 77.2%, Faysal BIN SHAMLAN 21.8%, other 1%

Legislative Branch:

 Bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve eight-year terms)

Elections: last held on 27 April 2003 (scheduled April 2009 election postponed for two years)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - GPC 238, Islah 47, YSP 6, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party 2, independents 5

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court

Political Parties and Leaders:

 General People's Congress or GPC [Abdul-Kader BAJAMMAL]; Islamic Reform Grouping or Islah [Muhammed Abdallah AL-YADUMI]; Nasserite Unionist Party [Abd al-Malik al-MAKHLAFI]; National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party [Dr. Qasim SALAM]; Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Yasin Said NU'MAN]; note - there are at least seven more active political parties

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Muslim Brotherhood; Women National Committee
Other: conservative tribal groups; Huthis, southern secessionist groups; al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Abd al-Wahab Abdallah al-HAJRI
Chancery: 2319 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760
FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Gerald M. FEIERSTEIN
Embassy: Sa'awan Street, Sanaa
Mailing address: P. O. Box 22347, Sanaa
Telephone: [967] (1) 755-2000 ext. 2153 or 2266
FAX: [967] (1) 303-182

Flag Description:

 Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white)

Note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars in the white band, and of Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt, which has a heraldic eagle centered in the white band

National Symbols:

 Golden eagle

National Anthem:

 Name: "al-qumhuriyatu l-muttahida" (United Republic)
Lyrics/music: Abdullah Abdulwahab NOA'MAN/Ayyoab Tarish ABSI

Note: adopted 1990; the music first served as the anthem for South Yemen before unification with North Yemen in 1990

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Economy - Overview:

 Yemen is a low income country that is highly dependent on declining oil resources for revenue. Petroleum accounts for roughly 25% of GDP and 70% of government revenue. Yemen has tried to counter the effects of its declining oil resources by diversifying its economy through an economic reform program initiated in 2006 that is designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In October 2009, Yemen exported its first liquefied natural gas as part of this diversification effort. In January 2010, the international community established the Friends of Yemen group that aims to support Yemen's efforts towards economic and political reform, and in August 2010 the IMF approved a three-year $370 million program to further this effort. Despite these ambitious endeavors, Yemen continues to face difficult long term challenges, including declining water resources and a high population growth rate.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $63.4 billion (2010 est.)
$58.69 billion (2009 est.)
$56.51 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $31.27 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 8% (2010 est.)
3.9% (2009 est.)
3.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $2,700 (2010 est.)
$2,600 (2009 est.)
$2,500 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 8.3%
Industry: 38.5%
Services: 53.3% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 6.832 million (2010 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 / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.9%
Highest 10%: 30.8% (2005)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 37.7 (2005)
33.4 (1998)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 91,587 (Somalia) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 19.1% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $8.861 billion
Expenditures: $8.492 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 28.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 1.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 30.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
35.4% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 11.2% (2010 est.)
5.4% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:


Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 25% (31 December 2010 est.)
18% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $3.489 billion (31 October 2009)
$3.399 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $6.077 billion (31 October 2009)
$5.985 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $3.679 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$3.659 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $10.13 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$9.346 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $6.183 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$4.988 billion (31 December 2009 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; natural gas production

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 9% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 6.153 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 4.646 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 258,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 157,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 207,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 64,610 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 3 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 520 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 100 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 420 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 478.5 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$1.944 billion (2010 est.)
-$2.565 billion (2009 est.)


 $7.718 billion (2010 est.)
$5.855 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas

Exports - Partners:

 China 34.4%, India 23%, Thailand 6.6%, South Africa 5.7%, Japan 5.3%, UAE 4.8% (2010)


 $8.701 billion (2010 est.)
$7.868 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports - Partners:

 UAE 13.5%, China 12.2%, India 8.9%, Saudi Arabia 6.4%, Kuwait 4.7%, France 4.3%, Brazil 4.1% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $5.942 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$6.993 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $6.586 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$6.356 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Yemen Riyal to Any Currency

Yemeni rials (YER) per US dollar -
220.05 (2010)
202.85 (2009)
199.76 (2008)
199.14 (2007)
197.18 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 1.046 million (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 11.085 million (2010)

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, GSM and CDMA mobile-cellular telephone systems; fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity remains low by regional standards

International: country code - 967; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); 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

Broadcast Media:

 State-run TV with 2 stations; state-run radio with 2 national radio stations and 5 local stations; stations from Oman and Saudi Arabia can be accessed (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 6, FM 1, shortwave 2 (1998)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 3 (including one Egypt-based station that broadcasts in Yemen); plus several repeaters (2007)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 255 (2010)

Internet Users:

 2.349 million (2009)

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 55 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 17
Over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 38
Over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 14
Under 914 m: 10 (2010)


 Gas 423 km; liquid petroleum gas 22 km; oil 1,367 km (2010)


 Total: 71,300 km
Paved: 6,200 km
Unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 6
By type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 2, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
Registered in other countries: 14 (Moldova 1, Panama 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Sierra Leone 2, unknown 6) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla

Transportation - Note:

 The International Maritime Bureau reports offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden are high risk for piracy; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crew, passengers, and cargo are held for ransom; the presence of several naval task forces in the Gulf of Aden and additional anti-piracy measures on the part of ship operators reduced the incidence of piracy in that body of water by more than half in 2010

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Military Branches:

 Army, Navy (includes Marines), Yemen Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Jamahiriya al Yemeniya; includes Air Defense Force), Republican Guard Forces (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 Voluntary military service program authorized in 2001; 2-year service obligation (2006)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 5,652,256
Females age 16-49: 5,387,160 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 4,056,944
Females age 16-49: 4,116,895 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 287,141
Female: 277,612 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 6.6% of GDP (2006)

Military - Note:

 A Coast Guard was established in 2002

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Disputes - International:

 Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Yemen is a country of origin and, to a much lesser extent, a transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Yemeni children, mostly boys, migrate to the Yemeni cities, Saudi Arabia or, to a lesser extent, to Oman and are forced to work in domestic service, small shops, or as beggars; some of these children are subjected to prostitution; to a lesser extent, Yemen is also a source country for girls subjected to sex trafficking within the country and in Saudi Arabia

Tier rating: Tier 3 - the Yemeni cabinet approved the country's accession to the 2000 UN Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Protocol and the government reportedly prosecuted and convicted traffickers; despite these efforts, the Yemeni Government did not take steps to address trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation or to institute formal procedures to identify and protect victims of trafficking (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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