Demographics of Egypt

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: African Geography

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Egypt is the second most populous country in the Middle East and the second-most populous on the African continent. Nearly 100% of the country's 78,887,007 (2006 est.) people live in three major regions of the country: Cairo and Alexandria and elsewhere along the banks of the Nile; throughout the Nile delta, which fans out north of Cairo; and along the Suez Canal. These regions are among the world's most densely populated, containing an average of over 3,820 persons per square mile (1,540 per km².), as compared to 181 persons per sq. mi. for the country as a whole.

Small communities spread throughout the desert regions of Egypt are clustered around oases and historic trade and transportation routes. The government has tried with mixed success to encourage migration to newly irrigated land reclaimed from the desert. However, the proportion of the population living in rural areas has continued to decrease as people move to the cities in search of employment and a higher standard of living.


Egypt has endured as a unified state for more than 5,000 years, and archaeological findings show that primitive tribes lived along the Nile long before the dynastic history of the pharaohs began. The bulk of modern Egyptians are descended from ancient Egyptian society, which has always been rural and quite populous compared to neighboring regions. Egyptians take pride in their pharaonic heritage and in their descent from what many consider mankind's earliest civilization. The Classical Arabic word for Egypt is Misr (Masr in Egyptian Arabic), which appears in many ancient Semitic languages and originally connoted "civilization" or "metropolis". The Egyptian people have spoken only languages from the Afro-Asiatic family throughout their history from Old Egyptian to modern Egyptian Arabic (Masri).


The vast majority of Egyptians live in Egypt where they constitute the primary ethnic group at 97-98% (about 76.4 million) of the total population. Approximately 90% of the population of Egypt is Muslim and 10% is Christian (9% Coptic, 1% other Christian). Egyptians also form smaller minorities in the countries that neighbour them, in particular Saudi Arabia and Libya where they are mostly temporary professionals and workers, as well as in other countries as immigrants, notably in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and Greece.

Ethnic minorities in Egypt include the Bedouin Arab tribes of the Sinai Peninsula and the eastern desert, the Berber-speaking community of the Siwa Oasis, and the Nubian people clustered along the Nile in the southernmost part of Egypt. There are also sizable minorities of Beja and Dom. The country was host to many different communities during the colonial period, including Greeks, Italians, Syrians, Jews and Armenians, though most either left or were compelled to leave after a slew of political developments swept the country in the 1950s. The country still hosts some 90,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly Palestinians and Sudanese.


The literacy rate in modern Egyptian society is about 57% of the adult population. Education is free through university and compulsory from ages six through 15. Rates for primary and secondary education have strengthened in recent years. Ninety-three percent of children enter primary school and about one-quarter drop out after the sixth year; in 1994-95, 87% entered primary school and about half dropped out after the sixth year. There are 20,000 primary and secondary schools with some 10 million students, 13 major universities with more than 500,000 students, and 67 teacher colleges. Major universities include Cairo University (100,000 students), Alexandria University, and the 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University, one of the world's major centers of Islamic learning.

Demographic data from the CIA World Factbook

Population: 78,887,007 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.6% (male 13,172,641; female 12,548,346)
15-64 years: 62.9% (male 25,102,754; female 24,519,698)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 1,510,280; female 2,033,288) (2006 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.75% (2006 est.)

Birth rate: 22.94 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate: 5.23 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 31.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.29 years
male: 68.77 years
female: 73.93 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.83 children born/woman (2006 est.)

noun: Egyptian(s)
adjective: Egyptian

Ethnic groups: Egyptians 97%, Nubians, Berbers, Bedouin Arabs, Beja, Dom 2%, European and other 1%

Religions: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic Christian and other 10%

Languages: Arabic (official), Masri (national), Egyptian (inc. Coptic). English and French widely understood by educated classes

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.7%
male: 68.3%
female: 46.9% (2003 est.)

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