A thick dust cloud travels southward from Saudi Arabia's Rub al Khali sand sea towards the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. This natural-color satellite image shows the dense part of the cloud approaching Yemen (lower left) and translucent swirls of dust over the Arabian Sea.Lines of small clouds cling to the margins of the dust plumes south of Oman (lower right). These clouds may result from the same weather front that kicked up high winds and stirred the dust storm. This region is one of the world's most prolific dust-producing areas, thanks in part to the presence of the sand sea. The Rub al Khali holds about half as much sand as the Sahara Desert. Image courtesy of NASA.
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The Kingdom of Yemen (colloquially known as North Yemen) became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and in 1962 became the Yemen Arab Republic. 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 the People's Republic of Southern Yemen (colloquially known as South Yemen). Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation and changed the country's name to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. 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 Muslim minority, continued intermittently from 2004 to 2010, and then again from 2014-present. The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2007.

Public rallies in Sana'a against then President Ali Abdallah 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 April 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in an attempt to mediate the crisis in Yemen, proposed the GCC 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 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 uncontested election victory in February 2012, SALIH formally transferred all presidential 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 and planned to begin implementing subsequent steps in the transition process, including constitutional drafting, a constitutional referendum, and national elections.

The Huthis, perceiving their grievances were not addressed in the NDC, joined forces with SALIH and expanded their influence in northwestern Yemen, which culminated in a major offensive against military units and rival tribes and enabled their forces to overrun the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014. In January 2015, the Huthis surrounded the presidential palace, HADI's residence, and key government facilities, prompting HADI and the cabinet to submit their resignations. HADI fled to Aden in February 2015 and rescinded his resignation. He subsequently escaped to Oman and then moved to Saudi Arabia and asked the GCC to intervene militarily in Yemen to protect the legitimate government from the Huthis. In March, Saudi Arabia assembled a coalition of Arab militaries and began airstrikes against the Huthis and Huthi-affiliated forces. Ground fighting between Huthi-aligned forces and anti-Huthi groups backed by the Saudi-led coalition continued through 2016. In 2016, the UN brokered a months-long cessation of hostilities that reduced airstrikes and fighting, and initiated peace talks in Kuwait. However, the talks ended without agreement. The Huthis and SALIH’s political party announced a Supreme Political Council in August 2016 and a National Salvation Government, including a prime minister and several dozen cabinet members, in November 2016, to govern in Sanaa and further challenge the legitimacy of HADI’s government. However, amid rising tensions between the Huthis and SALIH, sporadic clashes erupted in mid-2017, and escalated into open fighting that ended when Huthi forces killed SALIH in early December 2017. In 2018, anti-Huthi forces made the most battlefield progress in Yemen since early 2016, most notably in Al Hudaydah Governorate. In December 2018, the Huthis and Yemeni Government participated in the first UN-brokered peace talks since 2016, agreeing to a limited ceasefire in Al Hudaydah Governorate and the establishment of a UN Mission to monitor the agreement. In April 2019, Yemen’s parliament convened in Say'un for the first time since the conflict broke out in 2014. In August 2019, violence erupted between HADI's government and the pro-secessionist Southern Transition Council (STC) in southern Yemen. In November 2019, HADI's government and the STC signed a power-sharing agreement to end the fighting between them.

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Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates

15 00 N, 48 00 E

Map references

Middle East


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)

country comparison to the world: 52

Area - comparative

almost four times the size of Alabama; slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming

<p>almost four times the size of Alabama; slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming</p>

Land boundaries

total: 1,601 km

border countries (2): Oman 294 km, Saudi Arabia 1307 km


1,906 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east


narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula


highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb 3,666 m

lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 999 m

Natural resources

petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west

Land use

agricultural land: 44.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 1% (2018 est.)

other: 54.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

6,800 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the vast majority of the population is found in the Asir Mountains (part of the larger Sarawat Mountain system), located in the far western region of the country

Natural hazards

sandstorms and dust storms in summer

volcanism: limited volcanic activity; Jebel at Tair (Jabal al-Tair, Jebel Teir, Jabal al-Tayr, Jazirat at-Tair) (244 m), which forms an island in the Red Sea, erupted in 2007 after awakening from dormancy; other historically active volcanoes include Harra of Arhab, Harras of Dhamar, Harra es-Sawad, and Jebel Zubair, although many of these have not erupted in over a century

Geography - note

strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes

People and Society


noun: Yemeni(s)

adjective: Yemeni

Ethnic groups

predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asian, European


Arabic (official); note - a distinct Socotri language is widely used on Socotra Island and Archipelago; Mahri is still fairly widely spoken in eastern Yemen

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Arabic audio sample:


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) (2020 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 39.16% (male 5,711,709 /female 5,513,526)

15-24 years: 21.26% (male 3,089,817 /female 3,005,693)

25-54 years: 32.78% (male 4,805,059 /female 4,591,811)

55-64 years: 4% (male 523,769 /female 623,100)

65 years and over: 2.8% (male 366,891 /female 435,855) (2018 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Yemen. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 71.7

youth dependency ratio: 66.7

elderly dependency ratio: 5

potential support ratio: 19.9 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 19.8 years (2018 est.)

male: 19.6 years

female: 19.9 years

country comparison to the world: 198

Birth rate

25.21 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Death rate

5.69 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174

Net migration rate

-0.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105

Population distribution

the vast majority of the population is found in the Asir Mountains (part of the larger Sarawat Mountain system), located in the far western region of the country


urban population: 38.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.71% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

3.075 million SANAA (capital), 1.012 million Aden (2021)

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: 0.84 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.8 years (2013 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

164 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Infant mortality rate

total: 47.56 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 52.95 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 41.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.18 years

male: 64.89 years

female: 69.59 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 87.6% of population

total: 92% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 12.4% of population

total: 8% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.53 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

0.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 93.1% of population

rural: 48.5% of population

total: 64.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 6.9% of population

rural: 51.5% of population

total: 35.4% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<500 (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 70.1%

male: 85.1%

female: 55% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 9 years

male: 11 years

female: 8 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 24.5%

male: 23.5%

female: 34.6% (2014 est.)


Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 44.96 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 10.61 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 8.03 megatons (2020 est.)


mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east

Land use

agricultural land: 44.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 1% (2018 est.)

other: 54.5% (2018 est.)


urban population: 38.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.71% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to conflict, poverty, floods, high food and fuel prices - between January and June 2021, the number of food insecure was projected to increase by nearly 3 million to 16.2 million people; out of these, an estimated 11 million people will likely be in "Crisis," 5 million in "Emergency," and the number of those in "Catastrophe" will likely increase to 47,000; economic conditions in the country remain dire; the conflict is further hampering the already constrained livelihood activities and humanitarian access; income earning opportunities have declined due to COVID‑19‑related business disruptions (2021)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 4,836,820 tons (2011 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 386,946 tons (2016 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 8% (2016 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 265 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 65 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3.235 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

2.1 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


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]

etymology: name derivation remains unclear but may come from the Arab term "yumn" (happiness) and be related to the region's classical name "Arabia Felix" (Fertile or Happy Arabia); the Romans referred to the rest of the peninsula as "Arabia Deserta" (Deserted Arabia)

Government type

in transition


name: Sanaa

geographic coordinates: 15 21 N, 44 12 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name is reputed to mean "well-fortified" in Sabaean, the South Arabian language that went extinct in Yemen in the 6th century A.D.

Administrative divisions

22 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); 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


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]); notable earlier dates: North Yemen became independent on 1 November 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and became a republic with the overthrow of the theocratic Imamate on 27 September 1962; South Yemen became independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)

National holiday

Unification Day, 22 May (1990)


history: adopted by referendum 16 May 1991 (following unification); note - after the National  Dialogue ended in January 2015, a Constitutional Drafting Committee appointed by the president worked to prepare a new draft constitution that was expected to be put to a national referendum before being adopted; however, the start of the current conflict in early 2015 interrupted the process

amendments: amended several times, last in 2009

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic (sharia) law, Napoleonic law, English common law, and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Yemen; if the father is unknown, the mother must be a citizen

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI (since 21 February 2012); Vice President ALI MUHSIN al-Ahmar, Lt. Gen. (since 3 April 2016)

head of government: Prime Minister Maeen Abd al-Malik SAEED (since 15 October 2018)

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); election last held on 21 February 2012 (next election NA); note - a special election was 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

description: bicameral Parliament or Majlis consists of:
Shura Council or Majlis Alshoora (111 seats; members appointed by the president; member tenure NA)
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)

House of Representatives - last held on 27 April 2003 (next scheduled for April 2009 but postponed indefinitely)

election results:
percent of vote by party - GPC 58.0%, Islah 22.6%, YSP 3.8%, Unionist Party 1.9%, other 13.7%; seats by party - GPC 238, Islah 46, YSP 8, Nasserist Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party 2, independent 4

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the court president, 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, which is chaired by the president of the republic and includes 10 high-ranking judicial officers; judges serve 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 (3 factions: pro-Hadi [Abdrabbi Mansur HADI], pro-Houthi [Sadeq Ameen Abu RAS], pro-Saleh [Ahmed SALEH]
National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party [Qassem Salam SAID]
Nasserist Unionist People's Organization [Abdulmalik al-MEKHLAFI]
Southern Transitional Council or STC [Aidarus al-ZOUBAIDA]
Yemeni Reform Grouping or Islah [Muhammed Abdallah al-YADUMI]
Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Dr. Abd al-Rahman Umar al-SAQQAF]


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmad Awadh BIN MUBARAK (since 3 August 2015)

chancery: 2319 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760

FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017

email address and website:


Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); Chargé d’Affaires Cathy WESTLEY (since 23 May 2021); note - the embassy closed in March 2015; Yemen Affairs Unit currently operates out of US Embassy Riyadh

embassy: previously - Sa'awan Street, Sanaa

mailing address: 6330 Sanaa Place, Washington DC  20521-6330

telephone: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-3800
previously - [967] 1 755-2000

FAX: US Embassy Riyadh [966] 11-488-7360

email address and website:


Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white)

note: 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

National symbol(s)

golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black

National anthem

name: "al-qumhuriyatu l-muttahida" (United Republic)

lyrics/music: Abdullah Abdulwahab NOA'MAN/Ayyoab Tarish ABSI

note: adopted 1990; the music first served as the anthem for South Yemen before unification with North Yemen in 1990


Economic overview

Yemen is a low-income country that faces difficult long-term challenges to stabilizing and growing its economy, and the current conflict has only exacerbated those issues. The ongoing war has halted Yemen’s exports, pressured the currency’s exchange rate, accelerated inflation, severely limited food and fuel imports, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure. The conflict has also created a severe humanitarian crisis - the world’s largest cholera outbreak currently at nearly 1 million cases, more than 7 million people at risk of famine, and more than 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

Prior to the start of the conflict in 2014, Yemen was highly dependent on declining oil and gas resources for revenue. Oil and gas earnings accounted for roughly 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenue. The Yemeni Government regularly faced annual budget shortfalls and tried to diversify the Yemeni economy through a reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In July 2014, the government continued reform efforts by eliminating some fuel subsidies and in August 2014, the IMF approved a three-year, $570 million Extended Credit Facility for Yemen.

However, the conflict that began in 2014 stalled these reform efforts and ongoing fighting continues to accelerate the country’s economic decline. In September 2016, President HADI announced the move of the main branch of Central Bank of Yemen from Sanaa to Aden where his government could exert greater control over the central bank’s dwindling resources. Regardless of which group controls the main branch, the central bank system is struggling to function. Yemen’s Central Bank’s foreign reserves, which stood at roughly $5.2 billion prior to the conflict, have declined to negligible amounts. The Central Bank can no longer fully support imports of critical goods or the country’s exchange rate. The country also is facing a growing liquidity crisis and rising inflation. The private sector is hemorrhaging, with almost all businesses making substantial layoffs. Access to food and other critical commodities such as medical equipment is limited across the country due to security issues on the ground. The Social Welfare Fund, a cash transfer program for Yemen’s neediest, is no longer operational and has not made any disbursements since late 2014.

Yemen will require significant international assistance during and after the protracted conflict to stabilize its economy. Long-term challenges include a high population growth rate, high unemployment, declining water resources, and severe food scarcity.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$73.63 billion (2017 est.)

$78.28 billion (2016 est.)

$90.63 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 100

Real GDP growth rate

-5.9% (2017 est.)

-13.6% (2016 est.)

-16.7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 219

Real GDP per capita

$2,500 (2017 est.)

$2,700 (2016 est.)

$3,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 204

GDP (official exchange rate)

$54.356 billion (2018 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 20.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)

services: 67.9% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 116.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 17.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 2.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 7.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -43.9% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

mangoes/guavas, potatoes, sorghum, onions, milk, poultry, watermelons, grapes, oranges, bananas


crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles, leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; aluminum products; cement; commercial ship repair; natural gas production

Labor force - by occupation

note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 30.3% (2008 est.)


revenues: 2.821 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.458 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

74.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

68.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.236 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.868 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153


$384.5 million (2017 est.)

$940 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 196

Exports - partners

China 53%, Saudi Arabia 10%, United Arab Emirates 7%, Australia 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, gold, fish, industrial chemical liquids, scrap iron (2019)


$4.079 billion (2017 est.)

$3.117 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Imports - partners

China 25%, Turkey 10%, United Arab Emirates 9%, Saudi Arabia 8%, India 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

wheat, refined petroleum, iron, rice, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$245.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$592.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Debt - external

$6.805 billion (2018 est.)

$7.181 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Exchange rates

Yemeni rials (YER) per US dollar -

275 (2017 est.)

214.9 (2016 est.)

214.9 (2015 est.)

228 (2014 est.)

214.89 (2013 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 24.5%

male: 23.5%

female: 34.6% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57


Electricity access

population without electricity: 16 million (2019)

electrification - total population: 47% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 72% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 31% (2019)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1.19 million (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4.28 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 15,297,789 (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55.18 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 67

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: large percent of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance and telecom services are vital but disrupted; mobile towers are often deliberately targeted; maintenance is dangerous to staff; aid organizations rely on satellite and radio communications; scarcity of telecom equipment in rural areas; ownership of telecom services and the related revenues and taxes have become a political issue; Chinese company Huawei helping to rebuild some equipment (2020)

domestic: the national network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, tropospheric scatter, GSM and CDMA mobile-cellular telephone systems; fixed-line teledensity remains low by regional standards at 4 per 100 but mobile cellular use expanding at 55 per 100 (2019)

international: country code - 967; landing points for the FALCON, SeaMeWe-5, Aden-Djibouti, and the AAE-1 international submarine cable connecting Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Southeast Asia; 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 (2020)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

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

Internet users

total: 8.06 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 26.72% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 386,330 (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.68 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 8

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 336,310 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 3.27 million mt-km (2018)

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)


641 km gas, 22 km liquid petroleum gas, 1370 km oil (2013)


total: 71,300 km (2005)

paved: 6,200 km (2005)

unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)

country comparison to the world: 69

Merchant marine

total: 34

by type: general cargo 2, oil tanker 4, other 28 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 130

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla

Military and Security

Military and security forces

as of 2021, military and security forces operating in Yemen consists of a patchwork of government, non-state, and foreign-backed regular, semi-regular/militia, and paramilitary forces, often with informal command organizations and conflicting, fluid, or overlapping agendas, loyalties, and relationships; in addition, the Huthis maintain opposition military and security forces

Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) forces; Ministry of Defense: Yemeni National Army, Air Force and Air Defense, Navy and Coastal Defense Forces, Border Guard, Strategic Reserve Forces (includes Special Forces and Presidential Protection Brigades, which are under the Ministry of Defense but responsible to the president), Popular Committee Forces (government-backed tribal militia); Ministry of Interior: Special Security Forces (paramilitary; formerly known as Central Security Forces), Political Security Organization (state security), National Security Bureau (intelligence), Counterterrorism Unit

Saudi-backed forces: paramilitary/militia border security brigades based largely on tribal or regional affiliation (deployed along the Saudi-Yemen border, especially the areas bordering the governorates of Saada and Al-Jawf)

United Arab Emirates-backed forces include tribal and regionally-based militia and paramilitary forces (concentrated in the southern governates):  Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces, including the Security Belt Forces, the Shabwani and Hadrami “Elit­e” Forces, the Support and Backup Forces (aka Logistics and Support Forces), Facilities Protection Forces, and Anti-Terrorism Forces; Republican Forces; Joint Forces; note – under the 2019 Riyadh Agreement, the STC forces are to be incorporated into Yemen’s Ministries of Defense and Interior under the authority of the HADI government

Huthi: ground, air/air defense, coastal defense, presidential protection, special operations, missile, and tribal militia forces

note – a considerable portion--up to 70 percent by some estimates--of Yemen’s military and security forces defected in whole or in part to former president SALAH and the Huthi opposition in 2011-2015

Military expenditures

4.3% of GDP (2014)

4.3% of GDP (2013)

4.7% of GDP (2012)

5% of GDP (2011)

4.8% of GDP (2010)

note - no reliable information exists following the start of renewed conflict in 2015

country comparison to the world: 13

Military and security service personnel strengths

information limited and widely varied; ROYG: up to 300,000 estimated military, paramilitary, and militia forces; UAE- and Saudi-backed forces: 150-200,000 estimated trained fighters; Huthis: up to 200,000 estimated fighters  (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Yemeni Government forces consists primarily of Russian and Soviet-era equipment, although much of it has been lost in the current conflict; since the start of the civil war in 2014, it has received limited amounts of donated equipment from some Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and UAE (2021)

Maritime threats

the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued Maritime Advisory 2020-017 (Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean-Violence Due to Regional Conflict and Piracy) effective 14 December 2020, which states in part the "Conflict in Yemen continues to pose potential risk to US flagged commercial vessels transiting the southern Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait, and Gulf of Aden. Threats may come from a variety of different sources including, but not limited to, missiles, rockets, projectiles, mines, small arms, unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned surface vessels, or waterborne improvised explosive devices. These threat vectors continue to pose a direct or collateral risk to US flagged commercial vessels operating in the region. Additionally, piracy poses a threat in the Gulf of Aden, Western Arabian Sea, and Western Indian Ocean."

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2001; 2-year service obligation (note - limited information since the start of the civil war) (2021)

Military - note

in 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states intervened militarily in Yemen in support of the Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) against the separatist Huthis; as of late 2021, the conflict had become largely stalemated, but the coalition (consisting largely of Saudi forces), ROYG forces, and the Huthis continued to engage in fighting, mostly with air and missile forces, although heavy ground fighting was also taking place over the key oil-rich province of Marib; the Saudis have conducted numerous air strikes in northern Yemen, while the Huthis have launched attacks into Saudi territory with ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles armed with explosives; Saudi Arabia also has raised and equipped paramilitary/militia security forces in Yemen based largely on tribal or regional affiliation to deploy along the Saudi-Yemen border, especially the areas bordering the governorates of Saada and Al-Jawf; as of late 2021, the Saudi-led coalition continued to control Yemen’s airspace and the port of Hodeida

the United Arab Emirates (UAE) intervened in Yemen in 2015 as part of the Saudi-led coalition with about 3,500 troops, as well as supporting air and naval forces; UAE withdrew its main military force from Yemen in 2019, but has retained a small military presence while working with proxies in southern Yemen, most notably the Southern Transitional Council (STC); as of 2021, UAE had recruited, trained, and equipped an estimated 150-200,000 Yemeni fighters and formed them into dozens of militia and paramilitary units


Terrorist group(s)

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham - Yemen; al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

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): 113,869 (Somalia), 17,306 (Ethiopia) (2021)

IDPs: 4,002,012 (conflict in Sa'ada Governorate; clashes between al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula and government forces) (2020)