Morocco facts and statistics
Morocco facts and statistics: How many inhabitants does the country have, how big is it, what are its most populated cities, and what languages are officially spoken? These are some general facts about Morocco that you can learn about on this page. In addition, on other pages of this website, you will find further information on some of the topics covered.
General information about Morocco at a geographical level
Morocco occupies a strategic place on the planet: at the northwestern tip of Africa, separated by only 13 km from Europe, located on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar, bathed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea… These are some general data of Morocco that are interesting from a geographical point of view.
Total area: 446,550 km². That places it 58th in the world ranking and 25th among African countries. To get an idea of Morocco’s size, it is slightly smaller than Spain and about six times smaller than Argentina, but slightly larger than Paraguay and almost five times larger than Portugal. In any case, this figure does not include the territory of Western Sahara, on which there is no international consensus. If we count that territory, which Morocco considers an autonomous province, the surface area amounts to almost 711,000 km², i.e. slightly less than the surface area of Chile
Bordering countries: Morocco borders with only three countries:
Spain, by land with Ceuta and Melilla and by sea through the Strait of Gibraltar and the Canary Islands.
Mauritania: in the south, in Western Sahara.
Algeria: in the east
Length of the Moroccan coastline: about 3,800 km, which are distributed as follows:
3,350 km on the Atlantic coast
430 km on the Mediterranean coast
The main mountain ranges the Rif in the north and the Atlas in a southwest-northeast direction. The latter is further subdivided into High Atlas, Middle Atlas and Anti-Atlas.
The highest point of the territory: Toubkal, in the High Atlas, at 4,162 meters above sea level.
Regions that make up the country: 12. They are as follows, from north to south, with their respective capitals. However, it should be noted that they do not have such a large degree of autonomy as is the case in most Western countries.
Morocco facts and statistics
Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima: Tangier
Beni Melal-Jenifra: Beni Melal
Guelmim-Rio Noun: Guelmim
El Aaiun-Saguia el-Hamra: El Aaiun
Dahla-Golden River: Dakhla
Capital of the country: Rabat
General demographic data for Morocco
Moroccan society is very dynamic in terms of population, which does not prevent major demographic contrasts. But it can be said that all indicators are positive or improving.
Number of inhabitants: about 37 million people (in 2020). The country has been growing steadily in recent decades, with about 29 million inhabitants in 2000 and just over 32 million in 2010.
Percentage of men and women: 49.6% men and 50.4% women.
Number of foreigners residing in Morocco: around 100,000 people, representing a meager 0.3% of the total population.
Morocco facts and statistics
Percentage of emigrants: 3.1 million, representing 8.6% of the population.
Population density: 82.7 inhabitants/km2. This figure is somewhat lower than that of other countries, such as Spain with 94.8 inhabitants/km2, and Portugal with about 112 inhabitants/km2, although higher than most Latin American countries (Mexico 64 inhabitants/km2 or Colombia 45 inhabitants/km2).
Most populated cities: Morocco presents a high concentration of inhabitants in cities, these being the 10 most populated cities in 2021 (rounded figures):
Casablanca: 3.7 million inhabitants.
Rabat: 1.7 million inhabitants
Fez: 1.2 million inhabitants
Tangier: 1.2 million inhabitants
Marrakech: 1 million inhabitants
Agadir. 941,000 inhabitants
Uxda/Oujda: 570,000 inhabitants
Meknes: 560,000 inhabitants
Kenitra: 489,000 inhabitants
Tetouan: 428,000 inhabitants
Safi: 327,000 inhabitants
Population structure: the population structure of Morocco is pyramid-shaped, indicating that it is a society with a strong predominance of young people. Specifically:
0-14 years: 26.7% of the population.
15-64 years: 65.6% of the population
>64 years: 7.61% of the population
Life expectancy: 76.68 years, 77.9 years for women and 75.42 years for men. This figure has increased significantly in recent years, being 68.68 in 2000 and 74.38 in 2010.
General economic data for Morocco
The economy has undergone major changes in Morocco in recent decades. Both the so-called macroeconomics and the microeconomics, which is what affect Moroccans on a daily basis. In any case, the economic trend of the country is the liberalization and privatization of public companies, as well as a policy of openness and free trade with respect to the European Union. Here are some interesting facts.
Currency and value: dirham (Dh) since 1958 when it replaced the Moroccan franc, which fixed its value in relation to the French franc. In May 2022, the exchange values of the dirham are:
Dh1 = US$0.100
1 Dh = 0.094 euros
01 Dh = 1.98 Mexican pesos
1 Dh = 11.79 Argentine pesos
Gross Domestic Product (annual GDP): 100,667 M€ (year 2020), which is -6.3% compared to the previous year. However, since it was a pandemic year, this figure is distorted, as few countries managed to grow in this context. On the other hand, in 2019, its annual GDP was 107.076 billion euros, 2.6% higher than in the previous year. It is 59th in the world ranking, and 5th in Africa, behind only Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, and Algeria
GDP per capita: €2,727 (2020). As in annual GDP, this figure decreased due to the pandemic. On the other hand, in 2019 it was €2,936, i.e. 3.4% more than the previous year. On this indicator, Morocco verges on the ‘top 10’ in Africa, ranking behind countries such as Seychelles, Mauritius, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Egypt or Tunisia, and being more or less on a par with Algeria
Human Development Index: 0.686 points (2019). This is an indicator developed by the United Nations to assess the degree of development of the country, not only taking into account the economic income of its citizens but also others such as health or education. Morocco’s score falls into the “bad place” category in the ranking, as it is 121st on the list, but its scores have been improving steadily for decades.
General social and cultural data on Morocco
While the geographic, demographic, and economic data serve to take a ‘snapshot’ of the country, the following general facts about Morocco will show you some interesting details of the society and culture you will encounter on your Morocco Tours.
Official languages: Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). These are the two languages that the 2011 Constitution of Morocco recognizes as official languages. In addition, the preservation of Hassania, spoken in Western Sahara, is advocated. However, although French does not have official status, the fact remains that its use is widespread in the country and, in fact, it is very commonly used in the administration of the State. For example, in the Official State Gazette. There are also dialectal varieties. And in the territories of the former Spanish Protectorate, many people speak Spanish as a second language.
Official religion: Islam
Model of State and current Head of State: Constitutional Monarchy. Mohammed VI
National anthem: The Jerifan anthem, considered the national anthem since the country’s independence in 1956.
Flag and meaning: red background with an intertwined five-pointed star. The red color represents values such as strength, courage, and bravery, while the green color of the star is associated with the Alawite dynasty. The star is also a symbol of wisdom, health, and life, with 5 points as the 5 pillars of Islam.
Traditional Moroccan clothing, men’s and women’s: the main garments :
To talk about the traditional clothing of Morocco, it would take a whole book to compile all the typical clothes and accessories of the country. But it is clear that when you travel to the country, you will notice that its inhabitants mostly wear very different clothes from those you are used to see. Therefore, in these lines we tell you how is the typical clothing of Morocco, for men and women, so you can appreciate the different styles and qualities.
Traditional Moroccan clothing: city vs. rural world:
In the traditional dress of Morocco, you can appreciate the dichotomy that is also observed in many other cultural aspects: the great difference between the cities and the rural world. In the cities, very Arabized clothing predominates, which was introduced in the 7th century and later enriched with Andalusian contributions. Generally speaking, the typical clothing you will see in the cities is somewhat reminiscent of that seen in other North African countries, at least as far as its typology is concerned.
Although your trip may take you through rural areas of the Atlas, the Rif or the Sahara desert, you will see much more movement of people in the cities and, therefore, you will quickly find the type of Arab dress. We dedicate most of the space on this page to it, but it is also interesting to reserve a section for typical Berber clothing, which you will find at the end of this page.
Typical Moroccan clothing for women:
Moroccan women attach great importance to their clothes, and this can be seen in the quality of the fabrics and the rich decoration of their designs. So it is no coincidence that they spend a large amount of money (considering their level of income) to buy some of the dresses described below, which they usually wear with pride on special occasions.
Caftan or kaftan
Morocco facts and statistics: The kaftan, often written also as kaftan, is one of the most representative garments of traditional Moroccan clothing. It is a long dress that stands out for the brightness of its fabric, sometimes made of silk. Its cut is always loose and wide, and its sleeves are long.
The most striking feature of the Moroccan kaftan for women is the richness of the decorative motifs: the most humble ones are printed, while the most refined ones have embroidery on different parts of the garment, often in contrast. And the most expensive kaftans are those that are handmade by hand, which explains why there are still many artisan tailors who are dedicated to the manufacture of this type of garment.
The kaftan has Persian origin and it is believed that it was introduced in Morocco by the Arab conquerors. At first, it was a garment reserved for the women of the court, but later its use was extended to the entire population. However, women usually reserve their best kaftans for special occasions, such as weddings or special festivals in the Muslim calendar.
In more recent times, some major international designers popularized women’s kaftans by using them in their collections, thus adding an ethnic and exotic touch to their catalog. This was the case, of course, of Yves Sain Laurent, a designer closely linked to Marrakech.
Takchita: similarities and differences with the kaftan
Morocco facts and statistics: The takchita is undoubtedly another of the iconic female garments of traditional Moroccan dress. And it is sometimes confused with the kaftan, as it has some similarities, but also important differences.
They are similar in brightness can offer some fabrics used in them, and also in contrast of their rich embroidery. But they differ in that the kaftan is a one-piece dress, while the takchita is a two-piece dress:
The inner piece is called tahtiya and is a simple dress, without too many ornaments, which may remind one of a simple traditional kaftan, with two side slits
The outer piece is called fouqia or dfina and is an open overdress or kaftan, richly decorated with embroidery and embellishments, as well as wide cut sleeves to comfortably accommodate the sleeves of the inner piece. This fouqia or dfina is often very long, even dragging on the floor, which usually denotes a high economic level.
Another important difference is that the takchita is usually worn with a belt or mdamma, which is sometimes the element of greatest decorative richness, as it can be made of silk and contain gold or silver fabrics, as well as inlaid with precious stones (sapphires, rubies, diamonds, emeralds…).
Typical Moroccan men’s clothing
Traditional Moroccan clothing also includes some eye-catching garments and accessories for men. Generally speaking, they tend to have more sober and simple designs, although there are also exceptions.
Djellaba: a common garment for men and women.
It can be said, in a simplified way, that the djellaba is a caftan with a hood, which is never present in the aforementioned female dress. Therefore, it is striking that it is a garment that can be worn by both men and women, although also with some differences.
The male djellaba is long and reaches down to the feet, but it is usually looser. In addition, it is not uncommon for it to be short-sleeved, while we have already seen that the caftan is usually long-sleeved. It is usual to use the djellaba as an overgarment to go out in the street, over the usual clothing, removing it later when arriving at the destination.
The most commonly used materials for the djellabas are cotton and wool: the former, is lighter and suitable for warm environments, and the latter thicker, with greater capacity for warmth in cold periods.
Fez or tarboosh
Morocco facts and statisticsThe fez or tarboosh is a hat that is inextricably linked to the traditional clothing of Morocco, as in fact, it acquired its style here. More specifically, in Fez, the city from which it receives its name and where its characteristic crimson-colored dye would have been elaborated from berries. Its design is truncated cone-shaped, with a flat top, from which a black tassel hangs.
In addition to being an iconic piece of traditional Moroccan clothing, probably created in the 17th century by Andalusian craftsmen, it was later assimilated by other civilizations as a symbol of elegance in the upper strata of society. For example, among the military of the Ottoman Empire. (Morocco facts and statistics)
Footwear in traditional Moroccan clothing
Morocco facts and statistics: As far as footwear is concerned, there is one item that stands out above all others: slippers. They are worn by both men and women, although it is more common in male attire. They are made of leather, often dyed yellow, but there are also many other shades. Are characterized by being open at the heel and for being slightly pointed at the toe. They can be plain, but also embossed or embossed.
As a traditional alternative to babouches, there are sandals, especially for women. The variety of designs here is greater, with different weaves of leather straps, always leaving the heel and, sometimes, most of the instep and toes uncovered.
Where to buy these garments in Morocco
Morocco facts and statistics: If you want to buy some of these garments of traditional Moroccan clothing, nothing better than going into the souks of the medina to find the most authentic. As we said, there are still many artisans who work with care for these clothes and accessories, so getting lost in the stores will be a sensory experience: not only enjoy watching the pieces but also its touch and even its aroma, especially if they are made of natural leather.
The list of souks in Morocco is very long, but one that is usually well stocked with clothing and footwear is the Souk Semmarine in Marrakech, where the quality is also usually high.
For kaftans and gala takchita it is preferable to go to prestigious ateliers in the big cities, especially in Casablanca, the most populated of the country. In some, such as Albert Oiknine, prices can reach four-digit figures… or even more.
In addition, if you are a fan of fashion and want to keep abreast of trends in this type of clothing, you can follow the Morocco Fashion Week, which is the most important fashion show in the country, where the most luxurious and sophisticated caftans parade, as well as other typical garments with a more international vocation.
Typical Berber clothing
In the rural world, the diversity of clothing is greater, as each region has its own typical garments. The Berber tribes, always very committed to the preservation of their traditions, have been able to preserve their traditional clothing, which is largely conditioned by the climatic conditions of the environment, such as the cold of the Atlas Mountains or the enormous sunshine and heat during the day in the Sahara Desert.
There are some basic characteristics that can be seen in typical Berber clothing. For example, the use of thick wool is common in mountain areas, with which they try to protect themselves from the rigors of the cold. The coloring of Berber clothing is usually much richer, often combining many of them in the same garment. It is also relatively common the use of turbans for the head, both in men and women. Tassels or large pompoms tend to hang from these turbans and other garments, something that is not so common in traditional Arab garments. And in women’s gala attire, it is common for these hanging elements to be metallic pieces of goldsmithing.
To buy typical Berber clothing it is preferable to visit towns and villages where the Berber population is in the majority. Some examples are Chaouen in the Rif Mountains, Rissani in the Sahara Desert or small towns in the Atlas, such as Imilchil. In these cases, it will be even more interesting if you buy your clothes in the weekly markets, where the average quality is not so high but the atmosphere is very genuine.
If you book your trip with our agency, you will not only have enough free time to go shopping in the cities and small towns along the route, but we will also advise you on where to buy traditional clothing in Morocco, according to your budget and your expectations.