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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jul 22, 2010

Population Explosion in the Arab World

Population growth in the Arab world has been increasing steadily and creating difficulties for economic development, especially in the most populated states.

As of 2009, Arab population exceeded 350 million people. If the rate of growth continues, it is projected to reach 400 million people by the year 2015 and 650 million by the year 2030.

However, the population growth rate varies from state to state. It fluctuates from 3.69% to .98%. The United Arab Emirates have the highest growth rate (3.69%) with a population size of 4,599,000 people. They also have one of the highest GDP (PPP) in the region: $54.433 per person per year. The state of Oman ranked second with a rate of growth of 3.14% and a population size of 2,845,000 people. Its GDP is above the average of $22.816.

Jordan ranked third with a rate of growth of 3.04% and a population size of 6,316,000 people. It has a high population density and low GDP, which is $4,901 per person per year.

There are ten Arab states with a population growth rate between 2.0% and 2.97%. Egypt has a rate of growth of 2.03% and a population size of 82 million people. Its GDP, $5,138 per person per year. Yemen has a rate of growth of 2.97% and a population size of23,586,000 people. its GDP is among the very lowest at $2.335 per person per year. Eight states fall between Egypt and Yemen in terms of rates of population growth. However, their GDP varies from $2,000 – $600 per person per year for these states. The rest of the Arab states (8) have rates of population growth that vary from 1.9%-0.98%. Tunisia has the lowest population growth rate, which is 0.98% and a population size of 10,432,500 people. Its GDP is $7,520 per person per year. Tunisia is among the few states that implemented a successful family planning and birth control program several decades ago. In a previous post a reference was made to Egypt’s family planning and birth control program, which was officially implemented decades before Tunisia but so far has turned out to be a failure.

Jordan just recently adopted a family planning and birth control program with an aim of lowering its birth rate to 2.5 babies per woman by the year 2017 and 2.1 babies per woman by 2030. The present rate is 3.6 babies per woman (www.aljazeera.net, 7/17/2010). Nevertheless, the second lowest population growth rate, 1% is in Lebanon, which has a population size of 4,224,000 people and a GDP of $10,109 per person per year.

The GDP (PPP) in the Arab world reflects a big gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”. The gap fluctuates from $74,882 in Qatar with a population of 1,409,000 people to Somalia’s GDP of $600 per person per year and a population size of 10,112,453.

For comparative purposes, the U.S.A GDP is $46,400 per person per year.

The highest GDP (PPP) in the Arab world is reflected in the Arab oil producing countries of the Gulf region. This situation reflects a wide gap in terms of the distribution of wealth in the Arab world. These countries also have a low population size and population density by comparison to the rest of the states in the Arab world. The negative consequences of both the uneven distribution of wealth and the high rates of population growth have produced instabilities and a grim future outlook, especially for the younger generations. In the following post, emphasis will be placed on the impact of population growth on food production, scarcity of water resources, education and the high rates of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty, the shortage of housing, and crowded transportation systems.

*All statistics were used based on U.N. demographic data, World Bank and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s records.

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