Yemen Travel Guide
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The Population of Yemen was about 28 million according to July 2005 estimates, with 46% of the population being under 15 years old and 2.7% above 65 years.
Yemen has one of the world's highest birth rates; the average Yemeni woman bears six children. Although this is similar to the rate in Somalia to the south, it is roughly twice as high as that of Saudi Arabia and nearly three times as high as those in the more modernized Persian Gulf Arab states.
Yemenis are mainly of Arab origin. Arabic is the official language, although English is increasingly understood by citizens in major cities. In the Mahra area and the island Soqotra, several ancient south-Arabic Semitic languages are spoken. When the former states of north and south Yemen were established, most resident minority groups departed.
Yemenite Jews once formed a sizable Jewish minority in Yemen with a distinct culture. They also occupied key industries including silversmiths, and their influence on Yemeni culture is still discussed within the souks. However, most of them emigrated to Israel in the mid 20th century, following the Jewish exodus from Arab lands and Operation Magic Carpet. In the early 20th century, they had numbered about 50,000; they currently number only a few hundred individuals and reside largely in Sana'a. The original Jews' village is now left abandoned and is popularly known as "Bait-baws".
Arab traders have long operated in Southeast Asia, trading in spices, timber and textiles. Most of the prominent Indonesians, Malaysians and Singaporeans of Arab descent have their origins in southern Yemen in the Hadramawt coastal region. As many as 10 million Indonesians are of Hadrami descent and today there are almost 10,000 Hadramis in Singapore. Fifty years ago, there were Hadramis who emigrated from Yemen to Somalia but this emigration has stopped now due to political and civil unrest.
According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Yemen hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 124,600 in 2007. Refugees and asylum seekers living in Yemen were predominately from Somalia, Iraq and Ethiopia.
The Yemeni diaspora is largely concentrated in the United Kingdom, where between 70,000 and 80,000 Yemenis reside, also just over 15,000 - 20,000 Yemenis reside in the United States and 2,000 live in France.
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