Egypt’s Demographic Opportunity (Preliminary Assessment based on 2017 Census)

No. of pages: 24

Publication date: 2018

Author: CAPMAS and Faculty of Economics and Political Science

Publisher: UNFPA Egypt Country Office, CAPMAS and Faculty of Economics and Political Science

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The returns of the 2017 population, housing and establishment census indicated that the Egyptian population amounted to 94.8 million, compared to about 72.6 million in 2006. The estimated annual growth rate for the inter-censal period reached 2.56% which is above the estimated annual growth rate of 2.04% during the period 1996-2006. The data also showed no significant differences in the population distribution by urban/rural areas1 or by gender.
The demographic opportunity occurs as a result of the continuous substantial decline in fertility levels leading to changes in the age structure where a noticeable decline in the share of young people (0-14 years of age) within the total population would take place, leading to significant savings in resource allocations that can be used to enhance the skills and capacity of the relatively increasing number of people in the working age group (15-64 years). Such a situation would increase overall productivity and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita leading to better welfare for the overall population. These investments in human capital are a necessary pre-condition to benefit from the demographic opportunity and maximize the chances of a demographic dividend. It should also be supported by relevant public policies to enhance investments in various sectors and improve the business climate in order to be able to create new productive work opportunities for the expanding economically active group. These changes in the age structure are the result of a long term decline in the levels of both fertility and mortality leading to changes in the age dependency levels and indicating whether the country/governorates are approaching the opportunity for a demographic dividend. Some studies indicated that a relatively low dependency ratio of less than or equal 66% provide such locations with such opportunities.
The 2017 census provides important information about the age structure and its changes during the intercensal period 2006-2017, especially with the noticeable increase in fertility levels during these years. Such a trend goes against the wellknown established pathways for harnessing the demographic dividend and reduces women’s opportunity to participate in the labor force. It also lowers the country’s ability to achieve any savings that can enhance the level of human capital investment
in the areas of empowerment, health, education and employment, especially for young people.
Accordingly, the main objective of this paper is to benefit from the newly emerged data from the 2017 census to examine the age structure and assess its potentials at the national and governorate levels, in addition to sheddingsome light on Egypt’s ability to benefit from the demographic opportunity in the near future.
To this end, both the overall demographic dependency ratio and that for young people will be examined and a preliminary demographic dividend index is to be constructed based on quantifying the main components of the proposed framework to create and earn the demographic dividend. This includes policy interventions in empowerment, education, health, economic and job creation areas to be adopted within the context of governance, accountability and political stability.
In that direction the World Economic Forum/Global Agenda Council developed a relevant approach «A 3 E Policy Framework to Reap the Demographic Dividend: Empower, Educate, Employ» which will be the focus of this paper. The data from the 2017 population census will be used to examine the current status at the national level and in various governorates (for both urban and rural areas) in comparison to the situation in 2006 when possible.