This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.
If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: email@example.com
Friday, February 4, 2011
How Poor is the Average Egyptian?
If you have been watching the talking heads on television discussing the situation in Egypt, one number keeps popping up--that half of Egyptians live on less than $2 per day. Since this number is usually tossed out with crowds in Cairo as the background, the implication is that about half of the demonstrators in Tahrir Square are living on this small amount of money. It seems very unlikely that very many people in Cairo have an income this low and, in all events, the World Bank estimates that only 18 percent of Egyptians live on less than $2 per day, as I note in Chapter 10. Most of these people are living in rural villages, not in Cairo or Alexandria. By comparison, 36 percent of Chinese and 76 percent of Indians are living on less than $2 per day. Almost certainly the greater frustration in Egypt is that it is very difficult to reach a reasonably high level of living. The average per person income in Egypt (in current US dollars) is $5,680 per year (about $16 per day), but in China it is $6,890. So, Egypt has fewer desperately poor people (as a percentage of the population) than China, but the average income in China is higher than in Egypt. Will a change in government in Egypt change this situation? A lot of people on the street seem to think so.