MVP Sustainability Map



Sustainability Grade




Sustainable Population

44.3 %

Contraception Use


Species Threatened

0.76 %

Population Growth

$ 3,777

GDP Per Capita

Country Comments

The Overpopulation Project reported shortly after gaining independence from France in 1956 Tunisia’s almost entirely Arab and Muslim population experienced rapid development in almost every area under its president Bourguiba. He began a remarkable liberalization of the law, inducing social changes outstanding at the time, especially for a Muslim country. The president, educated in Paris, recognized that empowering women was essential for the development of the country. He gave women the right to vote, to remove the veil, and to divorce. Uniquely in the Arab world, he forbade polygamy and child marriage. In addition, Bourguiba made female sterilization and abortion legal (for personal reasons after the fifth child), altogether considerably improving women’s legal status in a very short period of time. These measures, including limiting government subsidies after the fourth child, are considered the first modern population policies in the Arab world and on the African continent. The country saw a dramatic decrease in overall total fertility from 7 children per woman in 1965 to almost 2 children per woman today. Even with this dramatic reduction, the population is currently three times greater than can be sustained by its renewable resources.

The major environmental problems in Tunisia are overgrazing, along with deforestation, soil erosion, and overuse of limited freshwater supplies that drive desertification of land. (1) Pollution especially along the coastal region from untreated sewage and industrial waste has degraded the waters, combined with overfishing have decimated coastal fisheries.