Regional Geography of Morocco, Africa


  1. Physical Characteristics
  2. Human Characteristics
  3. Economic Characteristics
  4. References

Physical Characteristics

Relative location

Morocco is in the northwestern corner of Africa, with coasts on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The sea defines its western and northern edges; boarders both the Norther and Western Hemisphere. Morocco is bordered by the countries of Algeria and Western Sahara, as well as Strait of Gibraltar (, 2019).  The Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco are separated by only 9 miles at the narrowest point.  However, crossing into Algeria is not possible, as borders are closed.  Morocco is referred to as one of the Maghreb Countries.  The Arabic word meaning “place where the sun sets”. This term was given in premodern times by Arab writers on geography to the norther part of Africa (De Blij et al.).


Landscape and Physical Environment

The landscape of Morocco is various from the mountainous with slopes that transition into plateaus and valleys. The Atlas Mountains dominate the central part of the country and tucked away a landscape of strange rock formations.  While the Rif mountains and the more fertile Middle Atlas range, where the montane flora dominated by cedar forest which, despite its reduction in more recent times, provides a unique mosaic of forest and grassland. make up the northern edge. Between the mountain ranges and the Atlantic lie plains and plateaus of lush agricultural lands. To the east the mountain slopes are much more arid as they drop into the unforgiving desert of the SaharaThe climate is similarly diverse, being warm and humid along the coastal zones, relatively cooler at altitude within the Atlas ranges and distinctly hotter and drier south of the High Atlas, where midday temperatures will often climb higher than 40˚C during the summer months. Not surprisingly, the plant and animal life in Morocco is accordingly parochial, species distributions being closely related to the habitat and climate types to which they are specifically adapted. (Brown, Ellingham & Jacobs, n.d.)


Weather and climate

The weather conditions and climate can vary depend, being warm and humid along the coastal zones, and relatively cooler at high altitudes.  The temperatures can get as high as 122 degrees in mid-summer.  Spring is by far most optimal seasonal weather. However, with the snow melting from the Atlas Mountains, it can cause flooding as forges the river currents.  Traveling in the passes can be very difficult this time of year.  The winter season tends to be very warm during the day, and gets cool in the evening.  If you are farther south in the desert, the evening can get down into the freezing temperatures.

Human Characteristics

Population, Density and Age/Sex characteristics

The 2018-estimated population of Morocco is 35.2 million, and that is up from the 2006-estimated 32.8 million.  Based on demographic statistics from 2015 the major cities hold most of the population of Morocco (Casablanca 3.5 million; Rabat (Capital) 1.9 million; Fes 1.172 million; Marrakech 1.134 million; Tangier 982,00). That nations overall population density is 178 people per square mile, this is one third the population density of Spain. Morocco’s area of 446,550 square kilometers (722,550 sq km including the Western Sahara) makes it slightly smaller than France or Spain, slightly larger than California.  The population of just over 36 million compared with just under a million at independence in 1956 (De Blij, Muller & Nijman, 2012). Based on the estimated population growth rate, Morocco ranks 116 at a decreasing growth rate of 0.97% ("Population Growth Rate - Country Comparison"). With a larger percentage in the younger population being “24 percent under 15 years of age and only 8 percent are over the 65,” Morocco is faced with a demographic transition (2019).  With a low growth rate projection, you will see the percentage of those 65 and older double by 2050, with a projected percentage of 18 percent. This is a result of the larger population of younger people; they will love longer, lower rates of HIV and in with the increased health care options. The 2017 statistics show the total median age 29.3; male 28.3 and female 29.9.  As female education and including contraception use, this too influences the birth rates in Morocco.


Language and religion

The most common languages in Morocco are Arabic, Berber and French. English is increasingly spoken by young people, especially in tourist areas. The most common used in educational or professional positions is Arabic.  However, among a much larger population is the Moroccan Arabic. The Moroccan Arabic is a dialect of Maghreb Arabic and named Moroccan Darija.  Both are vastly different from the Standard Arabic and influenced by French and Spanish, and this hinges on where you are in Morocco.   In the mountain regions, you will find that the Berber population will most commonly use Amazigh language. The dialect of the Berber changes for the regions. The north dialect is Tarifit, the central region is Tamazight and the southern region is Tachelheet.  In areas north and south, many people will speak Spanish or French, and that will depend on the proximity of Spain.


In Morocco, most people practice the Muslim religion. Islam being the state religion, Islam is the monotheistic religion that shares roots with Judaism and Christianity. The Pillars of Faith are still central to Muslim life, articulating and informing daily existence. Ritual prayers are the most visible. Bearing in mind that the Islamic day begins at sunset, the five daily times are sunset, after dark, dawn, noon and afternoon. While the majority practice Muslim, there are currently, about 70,000 Christians and 4,000 Jewish in the community. While there are various religions, most follow the Islamic holidays and celebrate numerous regional festivals in honor of the local Muslim saints (De Blij, Muller & Nijman, 2012).

Cultural/ethnic groups

Following Arabs arrival in the 7th Century, after sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East of their new revolutionary ideology, Islam. The Muslim armies invaded the Iberian Peninsula from Morocco, the bulk of the troops were Berbers, and the two ethnic groups pretty much assimilated. The Berbers were the diverse people of Northern Africa. There were dozens of Berber ethnic groups and Berber languages, as this was a diverse way to identify a group of people somewhat related. The Banu Hilal and Sulaym tribes of Saudi Arabia are those to whom most modern Moroccans can trace their Arabic ancestry. Following the death of Muhammad in the 7th century, Islamic powers in the Arabian Peninsula organized and formed a mighty Islamic Empire called a Caliphate. This Caliphate stretched quickly into North Africa, conquering nearly all of it by the end of the century. While the indigenous Berbers, though mostly Arabized, still make up most of the population, there is a rather sizable population that identifies as Haratin or Gnawa, black or of mixed race. The Jewish minority of Morocco, which numbered as high as 248,000 in 1948, has decreased significantly with a small population estimated at 6,000 as of 2010.

Economic Characteristics

Major economic activities

Much of Morocco economy depends on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, aerospace, automotive, phosphates, textiles, apparel, and other subcomponents.  With the sudden growth in Cannabis, this by far has been the largest income for people. However, the informal wage earnings in Morocco make it hard to give reliable income and employment figures.  Much of economic activities depend on how far west or south you are.  If you are closest to the ports or ocean, fisheries, you are more likely a fishmonger. If you are in an area where agriculture is your source of income, you are likely cultivating crops and olives from the trees.  As well, textiles are a large source of income for the woman in households. Textiles are a large source of income.


Imports and Exports

Cannabis is one of the largest exports of Morocco. “This sudden growth was accounted for by the introduction, by an American dealer, of techniques for producing hash resin. Overnight, the Riffians had access to a compact and easily exportable product, as well as a burgeoning world market for dope (The Rough Guide to Morocco, pp.181).  As a result, the big business was created and over a quarter of a century later, Morocco is reckoned to be the world’s leading producer of cannabis, supplying the vast majority of Europe’s demand, and contributing an estimated $2 billion USD to the Moroccan economy. Much of the import to Morocco is petroleum, textile fabric, communications equipment, wheat, and gas and electricity, and plastics.  The exports from Morocco are many of the same items, with an estimated reportable income of $24.5 billion dollars yearly.   


GNP and GNP per capita

Morocco has one of the slowest economic growth rates. The 2017 statistics provided by PRB shows the Gross National Income per capita are at a staggering low average of $8,063.00, and 62 percent of this is from the urban areas of Morocco (2019). The Gross National Income purchasing power parity for Morocco in 2017 was $292.6 billion dollars. 



Brown, H., Ellingham, M., & Jacobs, D. The Rough Guide to Morocco (pp. 7, 135-249).

De Blij, H., Muller, P., & Nijman, J. (2012). Geography (pp. 45, 47). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.


Eljechtimi, A. (2019). One in three Moroccan graduates jobless in slack economy: planning.... [Online] U.S. Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].


"Geography of Morocco - Fanack.Com". Fanack.Com, 2019, Accessed 9 Apr 2019.


IndexMundi - Country Facts. (2019). Retrieved from


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"Population Growth Rate - Country Comparison". Indexmundi.Com, 2019,


Submitted by Katina Winters 04/12/2019