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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Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Many Christians Are There in Egypt?

Tonight's "60 Minutes" on CBS News had a fascinating, albeit chilling, story on the Coptic Christians in Egypt. The story offered a look into the ancient history of Christianity in Egypt, predating Islam by 700 years. Indeed, the New Testament of the Christian Bible begins with the story of the Apostle Matthew about the birth of Jesus and the subsequent flight of Joseph and Mary with Jesus into Egypt to save the child from the wrath of King Herod. The historical point aside, the 60 Minutes story indicated that 10 percent of the modern Egyptian population was Coptic Christian. My own research into the demography of Egypt over the years suggested that this number was too high. Remembering that the Census of Housing and Population in Egypt routinely asks about religion, I downloaded from the latest census data (2006). Sure enough, the census data show that in 2006 only 5 percent of the population reported its religion to be Christian--nearly everyone else was Muslim. In a country as large as Egypt (80 million people), that works out to be about 4 million people--not a small number, but smaller than implied by 60 Minutes. Let's keep the facts straight, folks.



    On Greek Demographics. Thought you might find that interesting, though it seems pretty dire.

  2. Ah, I saw the story and was alarmed when they said 10 percent. I thought it was 5 or 6 percent, so I appreciate the estimate! Did you write in to 60 minutes?

    1. Actually, I did try, but gave up when it didn't seem to like my log-in information

  3. You should try again, maybe snail mail...