Over the last three decades, the incidence of thyroid cancer has increased worldwide. The reasons for this increase remain controversial. In Algeria, however, to date, information on thyroid cancer has been limited to a hospital-based case series. We analyzed data from a population-based cohort study in Oran District, Algeria, to describe demographic and clinicopathological characteristics of patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer between 1993 and 2013. Medical records and pathology reports of thyroid cancer patients who had surgery were reviewed. Changes in demographic and clinicopathological features over the 21-year period are described. During the study period, thyroid cancer was diagnosed in 1248 women (86.5%, mean age years) and 195 men (23.4%, mean age years). Most cases (83.1% for women and 69.8% for men) sought a diagnosis following a self-neck check. The most common histologic types were papillary (58.3%), follicular (29.7%), anaplastic (4.1%), and medullary (0.8%) carcinomas. The incidence of papillary carcinomas significantly increased () while the incidence of other histologic types significantly decreased over time. Tumor size overall significantly decreased () while the frequency of small (≤20 mm) and larger (>20 mm) carcinomas significantly increased (). The frequency of thyroid cancers with capsular effractions and angioinvasions also decreased over time. Thyroid cancer incidence in Algeria has increased substantially in line with international trends with changes in clinical practice being a possible contributing factor. However, the increasing papillary-to-follicular cancer ratio may be due to changes in iodine nutrition status in Algeria. Further research, including exploration of biological and molecular features of thyroid cancer, will enable a better understanding of risk factors and etiopathogenetic mechanisms.