Population growth in the Middle East has created a variety of challenges for governments, but especially how to integrate so many young people into the economy. Failing to come up with a solution could have severe ramifications, though.
A baby boom in Egypt since 2011 has added 11 million people to a population that is now approaching 100 million, according to Bloomberg. With a quarter of Egyptians between the ages of 18 and 29 unemployed, and an increasing number of young people entering a labor market that is ill-equipped to absorb them, many experts are raising concerns. Egypt isn’t alone. Population growth in the Middle East has created a problem of overwhelmingly young populations coupled with a lack of economic opportunity, which has fueled unrest that could continue. In an email interview, Jack Goldstone, the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel professor of public policy at George Mason University and an expert on demographics, explains what is driving the baby booms in Egypt and the wider region, their potential political impact, and how governments are responding.
WPR: What has led to the recent population growth in the Middle East and North Africa?