What was the population of the Umayyad Caliphate at its greatest extent (750 CE)?

According to Wikipedia it was 22 million.

According to other various sources / websites it was 62 million (wikipedia archive).

According to McEvedy & Jones it was somewhere between 20–30 million.

I personally think 62 million is a pretty stiff/high estimate and those who claim it tend to be sourceless. However, given that M&J usually provide us with a low-end estimate, 22 million seems to be a very frugal claim. Any thoughts? I appreciate your input, thank you.

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    Thanks for a nice question! I wonder what the general opinion on Popov's 2008 "History of the Old world"? That's the source of the 22 million. Many here know a lot more about ancient population statistics so I'll leave the real answering to them, but M&J seems to be the favoured approach by many.
    – gktscrk
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 6:50
  • The 22 million figure also comes from "Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994), The End of the Jihad State, the Reign of Hisham Ibn 'Abd-al Malik and the collapse of the Umayyads" apparently. Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 6:56
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    " M&J seems to be the favoured approach by many", I've noticed :) Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 7:00
  • The problem with calculating the population is (I think) that the censuses that were done were limited, mostly on taxpayers and sometimes didn't account for indigenous populations. Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 9:29
  • @Lars Bosteen I agree but 22 and 62 million is quite of a difference, don't you think? Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


I couldn't leave a comment because my reputation is too low, however, I will do some rough calculation for you. Note, it is probably impossible to get a good estimate due to a range of reasons (plagues, extent of borders, lack of data available).

The worlds population in 700 CE was estimated to be between 207 Million and 220 Million. In 800 CE, the worlds population was estimated to be somewhere between 220 Million and 240 Million.

Let's say the world population in 750 is 220 Million, and that the Umayyad Caliphate held roughly 29% of that population at its greatest height, according to this article. 29% of 220 Million is 63.8 Million. This dramatic rise could be due to territory expansion.

  • Your steps could be correct but they are based on problematic premises: First, the estimate of world population comes probably from the sum of estimate of each part of the world, including the Umayyad Caliphate. Second, the 29% of the article comes as well from the division of population of Caliphate by world population. So you're basically using two infos that were deducted from the population of the Umayyad Caliphate to re-estimate the Umayyad Caliphate population. This is problematic Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 9:37

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