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

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Index / Peoples
Open map of TunisiaFlag of TunisiaTunisia /

Ethnic groups
Figures in 1000.
9,000 90.0%
7,800 78.0%
1,000 10.0%
200 2.0%
1,000 10.0%
20 0.2%
2 <0.1%

Statistics on ethnicity in Tunisia is highly uncertain, there has ever since independence been a national politics of Arabization, toning down ethnic divisions and minority cultures. As ethnicity goes, Tunisians are truly Mediterraneans, being the "bridge" between Africa, Europe and the Levant for 3,000 years.
There were many indigenous peoples here some thousand years ago, but Phoenician, Roman, Vandal and Arab conquests have added to the diversity of the population. However today, more than 90% of Tunisians define themselves as Arabs, even if the amount of Arab blood most likely is well under 10%. Their Arab identity is connected to the Arabic language. One wave of immigration has never become part of the Tunisian assimilation: the Banu Hillal, a large tribe that looted the country in the 10th century, before they settled in their own villages. Hillalian identity is very much alive even in modern days, but in terms of language they share the same tongue as other Tunisians.
Andalucians, those immigrating from the Iberian peninsula in the 15th and 16th centuries uphold their distinct identity even in modern times; having settled in separate communities in the thinly inhabited inner regions of the country.
While there is distrust between Hillalians and Tunisians, Tunisians feel genuine respect for the Andalucians.
The other group of some importance are the Berbers, living in small communities in the south. Their number is decreasing, as more and more of them move into modern villages and cities, start to speak Arabic language, throw away their Berber clothes and adopt Arab culture and identity. Still, a large part of Tunisians consider themselves to be Arabic speaking Berbers, but the numbers given here, 1 million, is a very rough estimate. There are no scientific reports on this matter, but the many estimates setting the Berber figures below 1% are highly misleading.
The European community of Tunisia is even now dominated by the French, even if few of them can claim continous inhabitantion since the time of the protectorate.

By Tore Kjeilen