The population of Algeria in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 31,800,000, which placed it as number 35 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 4% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 35% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 102 males for every 100 females in the country in 2003. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 1.67%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 38,142,000. The population density in 2002 was 13 per sq km (34 per sq mi). The birthrate was down from 29 births per 1,000 population in 1996 to 23 per 1,000 in 2002, due in part to government programs.
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 60% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. The capital city, Algiers, had a population of 1,840,000 in that year. Other large cities and their estimated populations include Oran, 700,000; Constantine (Qacentina), 500,000; and Batna, 300,000. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 3.2%.
The population is concentrated in the cultivated areas of the northern Tell region near the Mediterranean coast. More than 90% of the populace lives in approximately one eighth of the country. The plateau and desert regions are sparsely populated.