Mostly high plateau and desert; some mountains; narrow, discontinuous coastal plain.
Arid to semiarid; mild, wet winters with hot, dry summers along coast; drier with cold winters and hot summers on high plateau; sirocco is a hot, dust/sand-laden wind especially common in summer.
Nationality: Algerian. Population: 38,087,812 (July 2013 est.). Language: Arabic (official), French (lingua franca), Berber dialects: Kabylie Berber (Tamazight), Chaouia Berber (Tachawit), Mzab Berber, Tuareg Berber (Tamahaq).
Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%.
Has the 10th-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the sixth-largest gas exporter. The government's efforts have done little to reduce high youth unemployment rates or to address housing shortages. Long-term economic challenges include diversifying the economy away from its reliance on hydrocarbon exports, bolstering the private sector, attracting foreign investment, and providing adequate jobs for younger Algerians.
OPEC OIL EXPORTERS (1:05)
LARGEST MIDEAST OIL EXPORTERS (:51)
Algerian houses and gardens are surrounded by high walls for privacy. Inside, most homes have a central, open area or patio surrounded by the rooms of the house. Homes have a receiving room, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and, if the family is wealthy, a second patio. The outside of the house is usually whitewashed brick or stone. Algeria has a severe housing shortage. It is common for more than one family to live together in the same house.
US Military Presence/Support