Egypt population growth continues slowing to 1.4%, government says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 28, 2024 | 3:21 PM

CAIRO (Reuters) – Population growth in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, slowed to 1.4% in 2023, its lowest rate in decades, the planning ministry said on Thursday.

The need to limit population growth is a favourite theme of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who blames a recent high birth rate for straining services and the government budget.

The current population stands at just over 106 million, according to Egypt’s official statistics agency.

About 60% of citizens are estimated to live below or close to the poverty line in a country burdened by water scarcity, lack of job opportunities and overcrowded schools and hospitals.

According to World Bank figures dating back to 1961, population growth in Egypt peaked at 2.8% in 1984-85 before declining to 1.9% in 2006 then surging again to 2.3% in 2014.

Since then it has steadily declined, reaching 1.6% in 2022, the data showed.

Sisi has launched a series of mega-projects that he says provide jobs and infrastructure for a growing population, but that critics say divert resources and weigh on Egypt’s debt burden.

In 2019, Egypt launched “Two Is Enough”, a family-planning campaign aiming to challenge traditions of large families in rural areas.

(Reporting by Farah Saafan; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Alex Richardson)