Morocco; Morocco, its people and its languages

Morocco has experienced enormous population growth in the 21st century. The number of inhabitants of Morocco grew from less than 5 million in 1900 to 30 million around the year 2000. In 2011, approximately 33 million people live in Morocco. Most of them are young.

There is no aging in Morocco in 2011

In 2011, there are many young Moroccans living in the country. Of the 33 million residents, 60 percent are younger than 30 years old. And 30 percent are younger than 15 years old. The elderly are by far in the minority. Only 8 percent of Moroccans in Morocco are over 60 years old. Aging is therefore not an issue in the country in 2011.

Moroccans leave their country because they see no future

It is precisely this population growth that has caused many Moroccans to seek their future in other countries. The economy, the production of agricultural products (food and drinks), trade and industry simply cannot keep up with this rapid growth, which means that people are seeking refuge elsewhere.

Which population groups live in Morocco?

The structure of the Moroccan population consists of a mixture of various groups. The majority are:

  1. Arab
  2. Berber
  3. Mixed Arab Berber


Smaller groups in Morocco

There are also a number of smaller groups in Morocco. These are:

  • French
  • Spaniards
  • Algerians
  • Jews


What language do they speak in Morocco?

More than half of Moroccans (18.8 million) speak Moroccan Arabic, also called Darizja. The word Darizja actually means dialect in Arabic and that is because this language is a mixture of Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish. Darizya is only spoken and not written, at least not as an official language.

Berber languages in Morocco

In addition to Darizja, a Berber language is also spoken by more than 30 percent of the population. There are roughly 3 dialects of Berber in Morocco. These are:

  1. The Tarifit. This Berber language is spoken in the north
  2. The Atlas Berbers. This is spoken in the Middle Atlas and the northernmost part of the High Atlas
  3. The Tachelhit. This is spoken in the rest of the High Atlas and southeastern Morocco.


What does Tamazigth mean?

Tamazight is the name of the Berbers of the Middle Atlas. Nowadays the word is also used for all Berbers. Berbers from the Rif Mountains have long been discriminated against in their own country. They were not allowed to practice their own language and culture. From the moment King Mohammed VI rules the country, the Berbers can experience and propagate their culture and language again.

Darizhia; not a fully-fledged language by any means

Morocco also had difficulty for a long time with Darizja, the mixture of Berber and Arabic and other languages. This mainly had to do with the fact that Standard Arabic is the language of the Koran and therefore of Allah. In Morocco, Modern Standard Arabic is therefore the official language. Also the only official language. The fact that a very large proportion of Moroccans do not complete school and Arabic is not spoken at home means that many Moroccans do not master Standard Arabic. By the way, 43 percent of Moroccans in Morocco are illiterate.

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