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Yemen Country Guide

Explore Yemen in Asia

Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service has marked this country as DO NOT TRAVEL. This means that travelling this country can result in potentially life-threatening situations! If you really have to go: Check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Yemen with the capital city Sanaa is located in Asia (Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea). It covers some 527,971 square kilometres (slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming) with 23,013,000 citizens.

Map of the area of  in

The topography includes narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains with dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula. The average density of population is approximately 44 per km². The notable climate conditions in Yemen can be described as mostly desert with hot and humid along west coast, temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon, extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east. Possible natural disasters include sandstorms and dust storms in summer.

To reach someone in Yemen dial +967 prior to a number. There are 997,000 installed telephones. And there are 8,313,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".ye". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Yemen

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.

North Yemen became independent of 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 a delimitation of their border. Fighting in the northwest between the government and Huthi rebels, a group seeking a return to traditional Zaydi Islam, began in 2004 and has since resulted in six rounds of fighting - the last ended in early 2010 with a cease-fire that continues to hold. The southern secessionist movement was revitalized in 2008 when a popular socioeconomic protest movement initiated the prior year took on political goals including secession. 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. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in late April 2011, in an attempt to mediate the crisis in Yemen, proposed an agreement in which the president would step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. SALIH's refusal to sign an agreement led to heavy street fighting and his injury in an explosion in June 2011. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2014 in October 2011 calling on both sides to end the violence and complete a power transfer deal. In late November 2011, SALIH signed the GCC-brokered agreement to step down and to transfer some of his powers to Vice President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI. Following elections in February 2012, won by HADI, SALIH formally transferred his powers. In accordance with the GCC initiative, Yemen launched a National Dialogue to discuss key constitutional, political, and social issues in mid-March 2013.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Asia
Neighbours: Saudi Arabia, Oman
Capital: Sanaa
Size 527,970 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 203,850 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
Population 23,013,000
Currency Name: Rial, Currency Code: YER
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .ye
Telephone Country Prefix +967
Mobile Phone Connections 8,313,000
Landline Phone Connections 997,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 527,968 (sq km) 50

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 25,408,288 47
Population growth rate 2.50 (%) 30
Birth rate 31.63 (births/1,000 population) 38
Death rate 6.64 (deaths/1,000 population) 145
Maternal mortality rate 200.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 56
Infant mortality rate 51.93 (deaths/1,000 live births) 38
Life expectancy at birth 64.47 (years) 175
Total fertility rate 4.27 (children born/woman) 34
Health expenditures 5.20 (% of GDP) 132
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.10 (%) 112
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 12,000 91
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 14.50 (%) 121
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 43.10 (%) 3
Education expenditures 5.20 (% of GDP) 65


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 60,060,000,000 89
GDP - real growth rate 0.10 (%) 178
GDP - per capita (PPP) 2,300 188
Labor force 7,158,000 63
Unemployment rate 35.00 (%) 185
Distribution of family income - Gini index 38 74
Investment (gross fixed) 17.80 (% of GDP) 120
Taxes and other revenues 21.4 (% of GDP) 154
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -12.30 (% of GDP) 211
Public debt 42.50 (% of GDP) 84
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 11.40 (%) 204
Commercial bank prime lending rate 25.00 (%) 12
Stock of narrow money 4,868,000,000 103
Stock of broad money 10,590,000,000 105
Stock of domestic credit 8,817,000,000 105
Industrial production growth rate 9.00 (%) 16
Current account balance -2,190,000,000 139
Exports 7,958,000,000 100
Imports 8,893,000,000 103
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 4,700,000,000 94
Debt - external 6,726,000,000 107


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 6,339,000,000 (kWh) 110
Electricity - consumption 4,700,000,000 (kWh) 116
Electricity - installed generating capacity 1330000 (kW) 116
Electricity - from fossil fuels 100.0 (% of total installed capacity) 2
Crude oil - production 162,100 (bbl/day) 44
Crude oil - exports 191,100 (bbl/day) 31
Crude oil - proved reserves 2880000000 (bbl) 31
Refined petroleum products - production 83,130 (bbl/day) 79
Refined petroleum products - consumption 177,000 (bbl/day) 61
Refined petroleum products - exports 18,140 (bbl/day) 74
Refined petroleum products - imports 61,950 (bbl/day) 61
Natural gas - production 6,240,000,000 (cu m) 51
Natural gas - consumption 760,000,000 (cu m) 95
Natural gas - exports 5,480,000,000 (cu m) 29
Natural gas - proved reserves 478,500,000,000 (cu m) 33
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 26,500,000 (Mt) 78


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 1,075,000 74
Telephones - mobile cellular 11,668,000 68
Internet hosts 33,206 105
Internet users 2,349,000 71


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 57 84
Roadways 71,300 (km) 65
Merchant marine 5 126


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 6.60 (% of GDP) 8

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Historic Town of Zabid
Zabid's domestic and military architecture and its urban plan make it an outstanding archaeological and historical site. Besides being the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century, the city played an important role in the Arab and Muslim wo ...
Old City of Sana'a
Situated in a mountain valley at an altitude of 2,200 m, Sana’a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. In the 7th and 8th centuries the city became a major centre for the propagation of Islam. This religious and political heritage can be see ...
Old Walled City of Shibam
Surrounded by a fortified wall, the 16th-century city of Shibam is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. Its impressive tower-like structures rise out of the cliff and have given the ci ...
Socotra Archipelago
Socotra Archipelago, in the northwest Indian Ocean near the Gulf of Aden, is 250 km long and comprises four islands and two rocky islets which appear as a prolongation of the Horn of Africa. The site is of universal importance because of its biodiver ...