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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Economy
a. Figures
4. Health
5. Education
a. Universities
6. Media
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. History
12. Cities and Towns

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Index / Peoples
Open map of LebanonFlag of LebanonLebanon /

Ethnic groups
Figures in 1000.
Arabs 2,500 63.0%
Lebanese 1,500 38.0%
Palestinians 500 12.0%
Syrians 300 7.5%
Iraqis 100 2.5%
Egyptians 70 1.8%
Other 50 1.3%
Phoenicians *) 1,000 25.0%
Armenians 150 3.8%
Kurds 100 2.5%
Assyrians 40 1.0%
35 1.0%
Greeks 8 0.2%
Italians 5 0.1%
Other 180 4.5%

Inaccuracies here are up to 10%, statistics are subject to political interests. Figures for Syrians, Iraqis and Kurds are especially uncertain.
*) Phoenicians are in most statistics listed as Lebanese Arabs. They speak Arabic, but are clearly of Phoenician descent, which is also their claim.

The main ethnic group of Lebanon, the Lebanese Arabs, are a result of millenniums of migrations. Most of Lebanese blood predates the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century CE, their former identity were that of the Phoenicians and Canaanites. Technically it would correct to say that today's Lebanese are of these two peoples, and many non-Muslim Lebanese seem to emphasize this, since Arab identity is linked to Islam. Other reconstructions go in direction of Greek origins, or European from the time of the Crusades.
The Druze, who count about 210,000, have an identity that is clearly separated from the larger Lebanese society, to an extent that they nearly constitute an ethnic group. Yet, they too speak Arabic.
There is a community with Persian origins, but no data available to their numbers, and a small community of Jews.
Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians and Circassians have come to Lebanon more or less as refugees following unrest in their homelands in the 19th and especially 20th centuries. Their identities remain strong, although they are active in society.
Palestinians, with a population between 410,00 and 535,000, have status only as refugees and are stateless. They enjoy many benefits from the state, but there is a general opposition in the population against naturalization and granting of citizenship; Christians fear their position as more than 90% of the Palestinians are Sunni Muslims; Shi'is are also against as the predominantly Sunni Palestinians live in refugee camps located to the Shi'i regions of Lebanon.
Syrians in Lebanon are considered alien by many Lebanese, their presence is a result of Syrian hegemony over Lebanon especially in the 1990's. The Lebanese government provide few services for this population, encouraging their return to Syria.
Iraqis in Lebanon are mainly refugees of varying degree, and not welcomed by Lebanese government which by all means wishes to avoid a new unreturnable community of refugees becoming permanent residents of the country.
Egyptians, together with smaller communities of Arabs from other countries, are welcomed foreign workers who may live in Lebanon for years but are expected to return home at some point.
Greeks and Italians are groups arriving in Lebanon with the migrations of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and they uphold their identity. The Greeks of Lebanon are Muslims, originating from Crete.

By Tore Kjeilen