A reading of the population problem in Egypt.. And suggested solutions to confront it
Poor geographical distribution and low demographic characteristics are the main challenges.
The issue of population grow was and still is the biggest challenge facing the Egyptian state and the problem that eliminates the fruits of any achievements of sustainable development plans or the state’s efforts to improve the lives of citizens, especially in light of the new republic that aims to change the reality of Egyptians for the better.
The current population growth is placing enormous strain on the State’s general budget.
Despite the sincere efforts made by the state to solve and address the issue of overpopulation since the thirties of the last century, it is still efforts unable to confront this massive population increase and lack the development of comprehensive policies and strict plans that are firmly applied and lead to a reduction in the rate of population increase in proportion to the state’s resources and efforts Achieving sustainable development plans.
Indications about the population problem in Egypt:
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics indicates that the population of Egypt reached on September 12, 2022, about 103,908 thousand and 590 person. It also announced that the population of Egypt will reach approximately 120 million in 2030, making it equal to the population of 15 European countries with weak or medium population density. Studies indicate that by 2050, the population of Egypt is expected to reach 153.4 million, and then continue to rise, reaching 198.7 million by the end of the twenty-first century, or more than double the population of Egypt in 2015.
The total population density in Egypt has developed and increased from 71.5 person / km 2 in 2006 to 101.8 person / km 2 in 2021, and then to 103.3 person / km 2 in 2022.
Population Growth Rate
The annual growth rate of the Egyptian population increased from 2.05% during the period from 1996 to 2006 to 2.56% during the period from 2006 to 2017 according to the 2017 census.
Economic Growth Rate vs. Population Growth:
Many Research and Studies have confirmed that economic growth should be three times the rate of population growth in order to be able to create the jobs needed for the new generation. This means that the population growth rate in Egypt, which reached 2.56% during the period from 2006-2017, as we mentioned previously, needs an economic growth rate exceeding 7.5% annually so that the citizen can feel the fruits of development.
Number of families
According to population estimates on January 1 2022, the number of Egyptian families reached 25.5 million, 55.3% of the total number of families resided in the rural (14.1 million families), 44.7% of the total number of families resided in urban areas (11.4 million families).
The causes of population growth
The reasons for population growth can be identified as follows:
1- Natural increase (increased number of births and decreased number of deaths)
The number of natural increase in Egypt reached about 1.571 million person in 2020, compared to 1.734 million person in 2019, a decrease of 9.4%.
2- Increased life expectancy
The high survival rates contributed to the exacerbation of the population problem, as the survival expectancy reached 75.9 for females and 73.4 for males in 2020, compared to 73.3 for females and 70.5 for males in 2016.
The population structure in Egypt is characterized by high fertility rates.
4- Early marriage:
Contributes to the exacerbation of the population problem. Early marriage rates are usually associated with a high birth rate, as most married women in Egypt give birth to the first child during the first year and half of marriage. Early marriage will also increase the fertility period for women.
5- Social legacies
Ideas and beliefs still dominate in rural and upper Egypt – emphasizing the importance of the family whose number of children is increasing as they are “the pride and bond” and looking at small families as weak families, and these beliefs also relate to the fact that large families can employ their children at an early age, which represents these families current and future economic power.
Repercussions of the population problem
1-Education: The population grow is a stumbling block to the reform of the educational system, as the quality of the educational service depends mainly on the number of students.
2-Health: if the population continues to grow in its current state, this will lead to many negative effects on the level of quality of health services provided. This increase will lead to a higher demand for health services, higher treatment costs, and the provision of a larger number of medical personnel such as doctors, nursing staff, hospitals and the number of beds. Medical devices and equipment, all of which are data that put pressure on the state’s general budget, which is directed to the health sector in particular.
3-Unemployment: population growth constitutes a great pressure on the available job opportunities and the labor market. Over the past decades, the Egyptian state has suffered from an increase in unemployment rates, as the unemployment rate reached 12.8% in 2015, and decreased to 9.9% in 2018, and then reached 7.4% in 2021 (5.6% for males, 16% for females), meaning that unemployment among females is nearly three times higher than that of males.
The Egyptian state’s efforts to confront the population growth
The Egyptian political leadership is aware of the seriousness of the population issue, which has become an increasing challenge to Egypt’s development plans and its dangerous repercussions, Which made this issue a priority in the reform and construction process carried out by the Egyptian state since 2014 to achieve comprehensive and balanced development, as many measures, initiatives and programs have been taken to confront this problem:
1- The Egyptian Constitution (Article 41): The Egyptian Constitution obligated the state to develop a national program that would strike a balance between population growth and available resources.
2- Launching the National Population Strategy (215-2030): This strategy aims to improve the quality of citizen’s life through: Reducing the rates of population increase in order to achieve the missing balance between economic and population growth rates.
This strategy seeks to achieve four goals:
– Improving the quality of life of the Egyptian citizen, by reducing the rates of population growth, in order to achieve the missing balance between economic growth rates and population growth rates.
– Restore Egypt’s regional leadership by upgrading demographics.
– Redistribution of the population through the creation of new urban communities and the elimination of slums.
– Achieving social justice and social peace, including linking the development map to the poverty map in Egypt in order to reach a distribution of projects that serve low-income people.
3- Launching the National Strategy for the Development of the Egyptian Family in February 2022 which aims to improve the quality of life of the citizen and the family in general by controlling the rapid growth rates and improving the characteristics of the population (level of education, health, poverty rate, job opportunities)
4- “2 Enough” project: The Ministry of Social Solidarity launched the “2 Enough” project with the aim of achieving comprehensive social development, especially in poor and needy areas.
5- Expansion of social protection programs, the latest of which was the addition of one million families to the conditional cash support program “Takaful and Karama” launched in 2015, as well as the disbursement of exceptional aid to 9 million families within 6 months.
6- Increasing the agricultural area: The state sought to increase the cultivated area through the implementation of projects aimed at expanding land reclamation, the most prominent of which were: the 1.5 million acres project, and the New Delta project.
7- Elimination of slums
8- Launching the “Decent Life” initiative in 2019 to improve the standard of life for the neediest societal groups at the state level. The initiative is based on implementing a set of service and development activities that will ensure a “dignified life” for this category and improve their living conditions.
9- Launching the “Housing for All Egyptians” initiative to provide housing units for middle-income citizens. The initiative aims to establish 3 million housing units to accommodate the growing demand for housing in light of the steady population growth.