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Jul 29, 2010

Population Growth and its Impact on Poverty and Unemployment

Population growth and slow economic investments contribute to the high unemployment rates and poverty in the majority of Arab states, especially the highly populated ones. Emphasis has been put on the fact that population growth is creating difficulties for economic and human development in the Arab world in general. In addition to population size, the poor quality of education is not producing a knowledgeable young people who are innovative and competitive. This situation of excessive population growth is causing poorly educated young people to run in any empty circle of poverty. An Egyptian government report reflects that "34% of young people between the ages of 20-25 years who are poverty-stricken didn't attend school at all, while less than 1% of the rich children didn't attend school. Furthermore, the report revealed that 97.9% of children of rich families graduated from high school and only 50% of the children in poor families completed high school." (www.middle-east-online.com, 4/18/2010).

One of the main reasons behind the high percentage of young people from poor families not completing their education attributed to poor economic conditions. Many young people dropout of school to work to support their families. This is not an unusual rationale. It is common knowledge that even in the United States a high percentage of the children of poor minorities never finish their educations because of their family's poverty.

There is a strong correlation between education and poverty. The lesser educational attainment, the lower the chances for employment, which contributes further to poverty. Illiteracy, unemployment and poverty is the most dangerous combination for any society. It is a destabilizing factor in any society's social order and a major contributor to the spread of crimes.

A recent UNICEF report reflects "the unemployment rates have reached 83% among young people between the ages of 15 and 29 years. This group constitutes 20% of the Egyptian population. Another U.N. report also noted that 41% of the Egyptian population is living below the poverty index level which is $2 per day per person.

Unemployment and poverty are a common phenomenon in the vast majority of Arab states. These include Yemen, Sudan, Morocco and even Jordan, where the unemployment rate fluctuates between 25% and 35%. It is not unusual that such high percentages of unemployment are even prevalent among college graduates in many Arab states. Recently, the Jordanian census issued a report on poverty, that "13.3% of the population is classified as poverty stricken. The poverty index level is 323 Jordanian Dinnar per month ($450) for a family of six. According to the report, 80% of the Jordanian Civil Service's salary does not even reach 300 Jordanian Dinnars per month. This means that this group should be classified as poverty-stricken. Furthermore, the report revealed that 48% of children are born to poor families." (www.aljazeera.net, 7/13/2010).

In Jordan, at least 35%-40% of the population is living below poverty index level, which is $2 per person per day. Unemployment among college graduates has reached a high level in many Arab states. It reached 26.8% in Morocco, 19.3% in Algeria, and 17.7% in Jordan. The unemployment among female college graduates is even higher. It is 29.5% in Jordan, 24.6% in Egypt, 27.5% in Algeria, 26.8% in Morocco and 64.5% in Saudi Arabia. (www.ahram.org, 11/14/2009).

The unemployment rates in the Arab world are among the highest in the world. Chances for improvement seem bleak. The U.N. issued a report (12/2/2009) warning that, "Arab League members are unprepared for the effect of population growth. About 60% of the Arab world's population is under 25 years old, meaning officials have to create 100 million new jobs by 2020 to avert mass unemployment among a youthful population. The increase in population size is destructive in light of the limited natural resources and the absence of a clear economic development strategy. (www.the national.ae/apps/pbes.dll/article, 12/2/2009).

Two out of five Arabs live in poverty, a trend on the increase despite vast oil wealth. Unfortunately, most of that wealth is invested outside the Arab world natural boundaries. The Arab world's political leadership has failed to see beyond their noses. Any event that will create instability in one part of the Arab world will have an impact on others. Reevaluation and the creation of a new economic strategy for the Arab world is a must in order to prevent a human explosion in that part of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Population growth can really contribute a lot on poverty.

    ReplyDelete