Welcome to the Middle East Today

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.

Aug 12, 2010

Illiteracy Rate and Population Growth

The illiteracy rates in the Arab world fluctuate from 35% to 45% in most populated states such as Egypt, Sudan, Yemen and Morocco, where more than half the population resides. However, the illiteracy rate among females is almost double the rate for men.

Available demographic research reflects that the educational attainment of individuals are inversely related to their fertility and directly related to their knowledge and practice of family planning and birth control.

The high illiteracy rate among female and their meager participation in waged economic activities will continue to be an influential contributing factor to the high birth rate in the Arab world.

Furthermore, the unemployment rates among females in general, especially in the college graduate group, are much higher than their equals among males. For example, the female unemployment rate of high school graduates was estimated at 83% and was 25% among college graduates. (www.ahram.org, 8/9/2010).

The high unemployment rate among females is not the result of discrimination, but it is attributed to the lack of job opportunities.

In conclusion, the Arab world's demographic profile reflects a critical and important feature. First, the age composition indicates that half of the population is under the age of 18 and may be classified as a consumer population. This implies that more resources must be allocated to take care of that dependent segment of the population, hence less capital will be available for economic investment in industry and agriculture, especially in populated states. Furthermore, the consequence of the present demographic momentum, which is the delayed impact of the recent rapid trend of population growth, is a ticking bomb. Nearly half of the population is under the age of 18 and within a short period many will be ready to marry; the rate of population growth will be further accelerated. Even under the most optimistic situation, where all newlywed couples limit themselves to two children, which is roughly the replacement level, Arab population will continue to increase because the large cohorts of children born recently will mature and reproduce. It will take nearly fifty years for the population to stabilize and the Arab world will add at least fifty percent more to its size from the time when the decline to replacement level starts.

Nearly half the Arab population is poverty-stricken and more than 2/3 of the land is unfit for cultivation. Shortages of food and scarcity of water is posing the biggest challenge to the Arab world. Population increase must be challenged by remodeling social, cultural and economic habits and by a highly organized independent apparatus of social production.

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