Lebanon is a relatively small country with an estimated population of 6.1 million,[1] and a low fertility rate of 1.7 birth per woman.[2]

Lebanon hosts around 1.5 million Syrian refugees,[3] of which 948,849 are registered refugees by the end of 2018,[4] in addition to 463,664 Palestinian refugees.[5] Following the onset of the Syrian crisis and the resulting influx of refugees, Lebanon’s population growth rate increased from 3.7 percent in 2010 to 7.3 percent in 2013; population growth then started decreasing and reverted to the pre-Syrian crisis levels at 1.3 percent in 2017.[2]

Given the challenging internal economic and political environment, sluggish global economy and volatile geopolitics, GDP growth in Lebanon has been seriously affected, reaching a real growth rate of 1 percent in 2018, compared to 8 percent in 2010.[6] According to the Central Administration of Statistics, prices picked up in 2017, with inflation reaching 4.5 percent for that year and 6.1 percent in 2018, compared to -0.8 percent in 2016.[7] Inflationary pressures are mainly driven by the increase in general taxes on citizens, including VAT and business taxes and continuing global rises in oil prices and other commodity prices.  

Public finances in Lebanon suffer from deep structural imbalances, calling out for the need of urgent fiscal reforms and policy response. The fiscal deficit reached 7 percent of GDP in 2017 and increased to 10.5 percent in 2018.[6] In parallel, public debt continues to rise driven by continuous budget deficits due to the increase in salary of civil servants and public school teachers, continuous financing of Electricité du Liban (EDL) and a relatively high cost of debt financing. In 2018, debt to GDP ratio was estimated at 157 percent. The current account balance has been negative over the past decades, currently scoring a deficit of USD 13.8 billion, estimated at 25 percent of GDP.[6][8] A long line of international donors’ conferences have aimed at stabilizing and boosting the Lebanese economy and CEDRE – the Conference for Economic Development and Reform through Enterprises— is the latest (April 2018). Government formation and fiscal reforms are needed to unlock CEDRE financing consisting of USD10.2 billion in loans and USD860 million in grants.[9]

One million Lebanese live below the national poverty line and almost 30 percent of the population live on less than 4 USD/day in 2015.[10]

Unemployment in Lebanon is higher among women reaching 9.9 percent compared to 5 percent for men and is especially high among youth, registering 21.1 percent for young women compared to 15.7 percent for young men in 2018.[11]

The health system is quite developed, and the Government has been trying to introduce reforms to achieve universal coverage.[12] Life expectancy is high at 79.8 years compared to the regional average of 71.5 years[13], while maternal mortality and infant mortality are low scoring 15 per 100,000 and 7.8 per 1,000, respectively.[2]

While the gross primary enrollment rate reached 93 percent in 2017, the gross tertiary enrollment leveled at 38 percent. The literacy rate among the youth population amounted to 99 percent, higher than the regional average of 85 percent.[14]



This overview was last updated in February 2019. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.



[1] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2017. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: https://population.un.org/wpp/ [Accessed 7 January 2019].

[2] The World Bank. 2019. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx?source=wdi-database-archives-(beta) [Accessed 7 February 2019].

[3] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2018. Lebanon Operational Environment. [ONLINE] Available at: http://reporting.unhcr.org/node/2520 [Accessed 18 February 2019].

[4] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2018. Operational Portal Refugee Situations: Syria Regional Refugee Response. [ONLINE] Available at: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/syria/location/71 [Accessed 12 February 2019].

[5] The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 2017. UNRWA in Figures 2017. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.unrwa.org/resources/about-unrwa/unrwa-figures-2017 [Accessed 14 February 2019].

[6] International Monetary Fund (IMF). October 2018. World Economic Outlook Database. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2018/02/weodata/weoselco.aspx?g=2001&sg=All+countries [Accessed 7 February 2019].

[7] Central Administration of Statistics (CAS), Lebanon. 2019. Consumer price index: Annual average inflation. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cas.gov.lb/images/PDFs/CPI/2018/Annual%20Average%20Inflation.pdf [Accessed 18 February 2019].

[8] Ministry of Economy and Trade, Lebanon. 2018. Lebanon: Economic vision [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.economy.gov.lb/media/11893/20181022-1228full-report-en.pdf [Accessed 18 February 2019].

[9] Council for Development and Reconstruction, Lebanon. April 2018. Government of Lebanon: Vision for stabilization, growth and employment. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cdr.gov.lb/study/cedre/CedreGoLVisionMarch15.pdf [Accessed 18 February 2019].

[10] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2015. Regional Trends in the Impact of the Syria Crisis on Livelihoods and Opportunities: A Socio-Economic Study of Impacts and Opportunities. [ONLINE] Available at: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/44374 [Accessed 18 February 2019].

[11] International Labour Organization (ILO). 2018. ILOSTAT [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.ilo.org/global/statistics-and-databases/research-and-databases/kilm/lang--en/index.htm [Accessed 31 January 2019].              

[12] Ministry of Public Health, Lebanon. 2018. Emergency Primary Health Care Restoration Project towards Universal Health Coverage in Collaboration with World Bank. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.moph.gov.lb/en/Pages/6/779/universal-health-coverage-project-lebanon [Accessed 18 February 2019].

[13] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2018. Human Development Indices and Indicators: 2018 Statistical Update. Available at: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/2018_human_development_statistical_update.pdf [Accessed 18 February 2019].

[14] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2018. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. [ONLINE] Available at: http://data.uis.unesco.org/ [Accessed 12 February 2019].



view all

Data Highlights

  • The health system is quite developed with a high life expectancy of 79.5 years in 2015 and low levels of maternal mortality and infant mortality, reaching 15 per 100,000 and 7.1 per 1,000, respectively.

view all