Largest Cities in Western Sahara

by | January 20, 2021

Facts about Western Sahara

Official languages: Arabic
Capital: Laayoune
Area: 266,000 km²
Population: 273,008 residents
Population density: 1.03 residents per km²
Currency: MAD
Internet TLD: .eh
ISO codes: EH, ESH, 732
The telephone code for Western Sahara is +212

In the course of the Western Sahara conflict in 1976, the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic (DARS) was proclaimed (also known as the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic) on the territory of the former Spanish colony of the Spanish Sahara (Spanish Sahara Occidental). According to Abbreviation Finder, the entire area is administered almost exclusively by the occupying power of Morocco. The POLISARIO government in exile is based in Algeria. According to international law, the future of the area designated by the UN as non-independent territory depends on a referendum, on the holding of which no agreement has yet been reached.

Flag of Western Sahara

The flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which was adopted in February 1976, is composed of three horizontal stripes from the top in black, white and green. A red wedge is placed in the pole part of the flag, and the central white stripe bears the symbol of a five-pointed star and a crescent moon. The colors used are traditional pan-Arab and signify solidarity between the Arab nations. In addition, the color red signifies revolution and the progressive character of the state. The crescent moon and star are traditional symbols of Islam. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is only a partially recognized state. Part of the territory is occupied by Morocco, which considers this territory as its own.


Total population 652,271
Population growth rate 2.54%
Birth rate 29.30 births per 1,000 residents
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 61.90 years
Men life expectancy 59.65 years
Women life expectancy 64.23 years
Age structure
0-14 years 36.93%
15-64 years 59.12%
65 years and above 3.95%
Median age 20.90 years
Gender ratio 0.98 M / F
Population density 2.45 residents per km²
Urbanization 93.70%
El Aaiún (El Aaiun) [capital] (F 1990) 139000, Oued edh Dheheb (F 1990) 26000, Smara (F 1990) 24000, Boujdour (F 1990) 10000
Arabs and Berbers
Human Development Index (HDI)
HDI ranking

Biggest Cities of Western Sahara by Population

The largest cities in Western Sahara are Dakhla and Laayoune. Dakhla is a port city located on the Atlantic coast and is the second largest city in the region with a population of around 200,000 people. It is an important center for trade and fishing, as well as tourism due to its beaches, which are some of the best in Africa. The city also has a large market where visitors can purchase local produce such as dates, olives, and fish. Laayoune is the largest city in Western Sahara with a population of around 300,000 people. It is located on the western side of the territory and was once an important stopover point for caravans traveling between Morocco and Mauritania. It has since become a major economic hub with many businesses setting up shop here to take advantage of its strategic location near Morocco. The city has several markets where visitors can purchase local arts and crafts as well as imported items from other countries such as China or Europe. There are also several restaurants serving traditional Saharan dishes such as couscous or tagine along with international cuisine. Finally, there are several beaches nearby for visitors to relax at or take part in water sports activities such as surfing or sailing.

# City Population Latitude Longitude
1 Laayoune, Western Sahara 196,442 27.1418 -13.188
2 Dakhla, Western Sahara 75,111 23.6848 -15.958
3 Laayoune Plage, Western Sahara 10,561 27.0961 -13.4158

Countries neighboring Western Sahara