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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

What Do the Demographic Tea-Leaves Suggest About Algeria?

Protests have erupted in Algeria, following the successful revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. On the surface, the youth demographics in Algeria are similar to those in Egypt--slightly more than one in five Algerians is between the age of 15 and 24, and since 1980 the population has doubled from 18 to nearly 36 million, putting a tremendous strain on social and economic resources. At the same time, however, life has been improving more rapidly in recent years for Algerians than it has for Egyptians. The World Bank does not provide poverty data for Algeria, but the per person income in Algeria (in USD) is $8,110 per year--44 percent higher than the $5,680 in Egypt. Furthermore, since 1980, the fertility rate in Algeria has dropped from a level higher than Egypt at that time to a level now that, at 2.4, is lower than in Egypt. This has been accompanied by a similarly more rapid drop in infant mortality in Algeria than in Egypt, and life expectancy is higher in Algeria than in Egypt. These comparisons are not meant to suggest that Algerians have no reason to complain about their government, but they do suggest that the level of frustration of the average Egyptian has probably been more intense than among Algerians.

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