country profile - YEMEN
Background: North Yemen became independent from 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 and brief civil war in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to delineate their border. Fighting in the northwest between the government and the Huthis, a Zaydi Shia minority, began in 2004 and has since resulted in six rounds of fighting that ended in early 2010 with a cease-fire. The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2008. Public rallies in Sana'a against then President SALIH - inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt - slowly built momentum starting in late January 2011 fueled by complaints over high unemployment, poor economic conditions, and corruption. By the following month, some protests had resulted in violence, and the demonstrations had spread to other major cities. By March the opposition had hardened its demands and was unifying behind calls for SALIH's immediate ouster. In in late April 2011. the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in an attempt to mediate the crisis in Yemen, proposed the GGC Initiative, an agreement in which the president would step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. SALIH's refusal to sign an agreement led to further violence. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2014 in October 2011 calling for an end to the violence and completing a power transfer deal. In late November 2011, SALIH signed the GCC Initiative to step down and to transfer some of his powers to Vice President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI. Following HADI's election victory in February 2012, SALIH formally transferred his powers. In accordance with the GCC initiative, Yemen launched a National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in March 2013 to discuss key constitutional, political, and social issues. HADI concluded the NDC in January 2014. Subsequent steps in the transition process include constitutional drafting, a constitutional referendum, and national elections. Since the Arab Awakening in 2011, the Huthis have expanded their influence, culminating in a major offensive against military units and tribes affiliated with their Yemeni rivals and enabling their forces to overrun the capital, Sana'a, in September 2014. In January 2015, the Huthis attacked the presidential palace and President HADI's residence and surrounded key government facilities, prompting HADI and the cabinet to submit their resignations. HADI fled to Aden, and in late February he rescinded his resignation. He subsequently escaped to Saudi Arabia and asked the GCC to intervene militarily in Yemen to protect the legitimate government from the Huthis. In late March, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched Operation Decisive Storm, a series of airstrikes against Huthi and Huthi-affiliated forces. In late April, the Saudi Government announced completion of the operation and initiated Operation Restoring Hope, which focuses on humanitarian aid and a return to political dialogue. As of late April 2015, the Huthis controlled much of western Yemen.
geography  
Location: Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Area: 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)
Land boundaries: total: 1,601 km
border countries (2): Oman 294 km, Saudi Arabia 1,307 km
Coastline: 1,906 km
Climate: mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west
people  
Population: 26,737,317 (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.09% (male 5,588,316/female 5,399,365)
15-24 years: 21.12% (male 2,865,453/female 2,782,109)
25-54 years: 31.33% (male 4,280,258/female 4,096,280)
55-64 years: 3.79% (male 468,869/female 543,336)
65 years and over: 2.67% (male 330,966/female 382,365) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 18.9 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 19 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.47% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 29.98 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 6.28 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate 1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni
Ethnic groups: predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asians, Europeans
Religions: Muslim 99.1% (official; virtually all are citizens, an estimated 65% are Sunni and 35% are Shia), other 0.9% (includes Jewish, Baha'i, Hindu, and Christian; many are refugees or temporary foreign residents) (2010 est.)
Languages: Arabic
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.1%
male: 85.1%
female: 55% (2015 est.)
government  
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: republic
Capital: 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) and 1 municipality*; Abyan, 'Adan (Aden), Ad Dali', Al Bayda', Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, Amanat al 'Asimah (Sanaa City)*, 'Amran, Arkhabil Suqutra (Socotra Archipelago), Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma'rib, Raymah, Sa'dah, San'a' (Sanaa), Shabwah, Ta'izz
Independence: 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)
Legal system: mixed legal system of Islamic law, Napoleonic law, English common law, and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (since 21 February 2012); note - President HADI submitted his resignation in late January 2015, but Parliament did not convene to accept it; he later rescinded his resignation and remains the internationally recognized President of Yemen; he fled to Saudi Arabia in late March 2015 but returned in September after government loyalist forces aided by a Saudi-led coalition regained control of Aden from Huthi rebels in July
head of government: Prime Minister Khalid Mahfuz BAHAH; note - BAHAH submitted his resignation in late January 2015, but Parliament did not convene to accept it; BAHAH later rescinded his resignation and remains prime minister; on 13 April he was named vice president, but continues to be the prime minister; he returned to Yemen from weeks of exile in Saudi Arabia on the 16 September 2015
cabinet: appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); last election held on 21 February 2012 (next election NA); note - a special election held on 21 February 2012 to remove Ali Abdallah SALIH under the terms of a Gulf Cooperation Council-mediated deal during the political crisis of 2011; vice president appointed by the president; prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (GPC) elected as a consensus president with about 50% popular participation; no other candidates
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Majlis consists of the Shura Council or Majlis Alshoora (111 seats; members appointed by the president; member tenure NA) and the House of Representatives or Majlis al Nuwaab (301 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms)
elections: last held on 27 April 2003 (next scheduled for April 2009 but postponed indefinitely)
election results: House of Representatives percent of vote by party - GPC 58%, Islah 22.6%, YSP 3.8%, Unionist Party 1.9%, other 13.7%; seats by party - GPC 238, Islah 46, YSP 8, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'th Party 2, independent 4
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the president of the Court, 2 deputies, and nearly 50 judges; court organized into constitutional, civil, commercial, family, administrative, criminal, military, and appeals scrutiny divisions)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, chaired by the president of the republic and consisting of 10 high-ranking judicial officers; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: appeal courts; district or first instance courts; commercial courts
Political parties and leaders: General People's Congress or GPC [Ali Abdallah SALIH]
Islamic Reform Grouping or Islah [Muhammed Abdallah al-YADUMI, Abdul Wahab al-ANSI]
Nasserite Unionist Party [Abdallah NU'MAN]
Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Dr. Abd al-Rahman Umar al-SAQQAF]
note: there are at least seven more active political parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: Houthis
Muslim Brotherhood
Women National Committee
other: conservative tribal groups; southern secessionist groups; al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
International organization participation: AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CD, EITI (temporarily suspended), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; 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
communications  
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 1.17 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 17.1 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 66 (2014 est.)
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 (2006)
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)
Internet country code: .ye
Internet hosts: 33,206 (2012)
Internet users: total: 5 million
percent of population: 19.1% (2014 est.)
transportation  
Airports: 57 (2013)
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 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 40
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 9 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 641 km; liquid petroleum gas 22 km; oil 1,370 km (2013)
Roadways: total: 71,300 km
paved: 6,200 km
unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)
Merchant marine: total: 5
country comparison to the world: 126
by type: chemical tanker 2, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 14 (Moldova 4, Panama 4, Sierra Leone 2, Togo 1, unknown 3) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla
transnational issues  
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
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 5,934 (Ethiopia) (2014); 246,648 (Somalia) (2015)
IDPs: 2,305,048 (conflict in Sa'ada governorate; clashes between AQAP and government forces) (2015)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Yemen is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; some Yemeni children, mostly boys, migrate to Yemeni cities or across the border to Saudi Arabia and, less frequently Oman, where they end up as beggars, prostitutes, or forced laborers in domestic service or small shops; other Yemeni children were recruited as combatants or checkpoint guards by armed groups and continues to be used in the government’s military forces; Yemen is also a source country for girls sex trafficked within country or to Saudi Arabia; thousands of Yemeni migrant workers deported from Saudi Arabia and Syrian refugees are vulnerable to trafficking; additionally, Yemen is a destination and transit country for women and children from the Horn of Africa who are looking for work or receive fraudulent job offers in the Gulf states but are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor upon arrival; reports indicate that adults and children are still sold or inherited as slaves in Yemen
tier rating: Tier 3 – Yemen does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; prolonged political, economic, and security crises, as well as the continued conflation of trafficking and smuggling, impeded the government’s modest anti-trafficking efforts; authorities did not institute formal procedures to identify and protect trafficking victims in 2013, nor did they investigate or prosecute officials complicit in trafficking-related crimes; the government did not report efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict trafficking offenses, and no known efforts were made to investigate or punish persons practicing chattel slavery; officials acknowledged the use of child soldiers and agreed to a UN action plan to eliminate it but did not make efforts to remove child soldiers from the military; draft anti-trafficking legislation still awaits parliamentary endorsement (2014)
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html