Lebanese like four things: Speculation, religion, percentages, and rankings. What is the fastest growing sect? In 25 years, what religious group will be the biggest? What religious groups are shrinking in size? Where? Every Lebanese citizen asked himself at least once these questions. Perhaps because of a trans-sectarian fear of becoming a minority, or perhaps because of simple curiosity. For a country with no census since 1932, the closest thing officially available and that is constantly updated is the electoral data. The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) created an amazing and extremely useful website, lebanonelectiondata.org where you’ll find visualizations on trends in voter registration by confession, gender, as well as white ballots cast and voter representation in parliament. The amount of information offered is too huge but it’s also extremely organized and simple.
All the following maps are taken from the website, and in case you’re interested to know the exact percentage for every district – the maps are based on the modified 1960 electoral law of 2008 – don’t hesitate to check their website (simply click on the district of your choice in the interactive map). And for those of you who prefer Excel tables instead of maps, you can find what you’re searching for here.
A- Confession Trends
b- Greek Orthodox
c- Greek Catholic
d- Armenian Orthodox
e- Armenian Catholic
g- Christian Minorities
B- Gender Trends
C- Vote Power (Number of registered voters/Number of MPs)
Les Grandes Lignes
This is too much data to analyze, and basically every map can be reviewed on its own. However there are general observations common to most of the maps:
(1) Female voters are by far more influential than male voters. If you take a look at maps 34,35,36 and 37, you’ll hardly find any green. According to map 35, the only districts where the men were the majority of voters in 2009 are Aley, Beirut, Tripoli, Saida, and Keserwan.
(2) Christian percentages are mainly dropping everywhere (maps 1→21). And even when the percentages of a certain Christian sect in a certain district is rising, it usually reflects a much bigger drop by another Christian sect. For example, the Maronite percentage in Koura is the only one that became more important (the green spot in map 2), but this is only because the Greek Orthodox percentage of Koura is dropping even more (maps 4 and 5). Another interesting fact is that the Greek Catholics are having higher percentages in the Christian heartland (Northern Mount-Lebanon and the Southern parts of the North) while their percentages are massively dropping everywhere else (maps 7, 8 and 9). It could indicate that some Greek Catholics are changing their place of registration (which is the hometown) from the mixed districts to the Christian heartland.
(3) On the Muslim side, there’s an interesting trend among Shias and Sunnis. If you look at the maps 23 and 26, you realize that the Sunnis are becoming more populous in the Shia-majority districts (Look how much the south is green in map 23) while the Shias are having higher percentages in the Sunni dominated districts (Take a look at Beirut, Saida, Zahle, West-Bekaa and the Chouf in map 26).
(4) If you check maps 38→40, you’ll notice that the districts that are the most underrepresented are the Muslim and rural ones (mainly Akkar and the South).
(5) So to sum things up, on the long run, most of the districts tend to become more religiously mixed. For example take a look at the Greek Orthodox in map 5. The Greek Orthodox are having lower percentages in their heavyweight districts like Akkar, Marjeyoun, Koura, Tripoli, Aley and Beirut. Their percentages are however rising in the other districts where they are barely present (especially in the Christian heartland).