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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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Youth Bulge Going to Waste in Gaza

Youth bulges can be used for good or evil, as Debbie Fugate and I have pointed out. But sometimes it is just wasted. That is what seems to be happening in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, according to a report by al-Monitor.
According to a report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 30,000 students graduate each year from Palestinian institutions of higher learning. The bureau and a Sharek Youth Forum report indicate that people between 15 and 29 years of age constitute 29.9% of the total population of 4.42 million in Palestine. The unemployment rate among graduates was 52.5% in the first quarter of 2013, and 37% of graduates are economically active. The report also showed a positive correlation between the rise in education levels and the increase in the unemployment rate.
The feelings of frustration among young people are hard to escape, with so many remaining pessimistic about the future of the Gaza Strip despite the reconciliation deal. Mohammad Mansour and Ousid al-Masri, both 18, have both recently graduated from an American school and are waiting for an opportunity to travel and study at Istanbul University. The two young men agreed that they would leave Gaza City, which they consider a city that has chased its youth away. Sitting on the edge of a fountain in a park, they said, “The new government will be no different than former governments in ignoring us and the youth."
This is exactly the opposite direction that things should be going. A better educated workforce should promote economic development, rather than produce more unemployment and discouragement. Of course, this was the same exact problem that Egypt faced and which helped to promote the Arab Spring--although that hasn't worked out as well as expected....

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