Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab Region and ranks number 14 globally with a population of 98.1 million. Egypt is a country with a young population where 61% of the total population is below the age of 30 according to the latest available national data. Given that the total land area in Egypt is 1 million square kilometers, mostly occupied by desert,[1] the population density reached 100 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2018 up from 70 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2000.[2]


Egypt has a diversified economy and is positioned as a strategic trade hub, being open on unilateral, regional, and multilateral levels. It is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa and one of the leading dry natural gas producers in the region. According to the latest available data by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), crude oil production accounts for 31.5 thousand tonnes oil equivalent (ktoe) and natural gas production for 38.6 ktoe.[1] The country also serves as an important transit route for oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the Suez Canal. More recently, Egypt has been trying to diversify its energy sources. In 2018, it has been listed along with Tunisia and UAE among the best countries developing renewable energy according to a report by the World Bank.[3]


Following the onset of January 25, 2011, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate (constant 2005 prices) has been slowed at around 2-3% over the period 2011-2014 down from 5.2 % in 2010.[4] The unrest in Egypt has left the country with economic challenges. Inflation doubled at 14.5% in 2016 up from 7.3% in 2012. Cash deficit increased from 10% of GDP in 2012 to 17% of GDP in 2016[5] and the public debt level at 103% of GDP in 2017 up from 70% of GDP in 2010.[1]


Unemployment is a challenging issue in Egypt. The unemployment rate registered 12.5% in 2016, which is around 4 percentage points higher than the pre-January 25, 2011 rate of 9% back in 2010.[1] One cannot understand how challenging unemployment is without looking at youth and female unemployment figures. Latest statistics show high rates among women and youth with a female unemployment rate estimated at 24.3% and youth unemployment estimated at 34.3%. Unemployment is largely affecting young women with an unemployment rate reaching 47.4%.[6]


In addition, and according to the most recent survey data that were publicly available for Egypt’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), 5.2% of the population, that is around 5 million people, were multi-dimensionally poor while 6.1% - making around 6 million people – are vulnerable to multidimensional poverty. According to the most recent data available, 1.3% of the population live below the international poverty line of $1.90 (in purchasing power parity [PPP] terms) a day and 27.8% of the population live below the national poverty line.[7]


In 2016 and to curb fiscal deficit, reform the economy, achieve economic growth and boost the overall business environment and investment climate, the government of Egypt implemented a transformational reform program packed by a $12 billion, three-year loan from the IMF. The country introduced new taxes, including the VAT law and made deep cuts to energy subsidies. In November 23rd, 2016, the Egyptian Central Bank to change the exchange rate regime and allow the currency to float freely in order to create an environment for a reliable supply of foreign currency. As a result, inflation registered the highest rate at 35.3 % in July 2017 but decreased again to 14.4% in January 2018.[8] 


The implementation of these reforms has helped the economy to stabilize and the country started to show signs of recovery. GDP grew by 5.2% in 2018 compared to 4.2% in 2017, the highest rate in 10 years.[4] and unemployment rate also decreased to 10 % in the third quarter of 2018.[1]


These reforms also aimed at enhancing the social protection nets for the poor and vulnerable by focusing on allowances through food smart cards. The government has also strengthened cash transfer programs, shifting from generalized energy and food subsidies to more poverty and human development targeted programs.  An initiative called “Decent Life” was launched in early 2019 aiming at providing a better life for those most in need. Through this new initiative, the government aims to provide job opportunities and develop infrastructure by targeting 100 of Egypt’s poorest villages.[9]

This overview was last updated in January 2019. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 January 2019].

[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2018. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 January 2019].      

[3] The World Bank. 2018. Policy matters: regulatory indicators for sustainable energy. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 January 2019].

[4] International Monetary Fund. 2018. World Economic Outlook. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 January 2019].

[5] ADP team calculations based on figures extracted from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 4 January 2019].

[6] International Labor Organization. 2018. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed on 4 January 2019].

[7] United Nations Development Programme. 2018. Human development report. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 4 January 2019].

[8] Central Bank of Egypt. 2017. Annual report 2016-2017. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 4 January 2019].

[9] Al-Ahram Weekly. 2019. Decent life. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 4 January 2019].

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Data Highlights

  • Egypt is the most populous country among Arab countries with a population of 91.5 million in 2015, growing at an annual rate of 2%. The population is dense around the Nile basin with a global population density of 92 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2015 up from 69 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2000. The Egyptian population is young with almost 77% of its population below 30 years.

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