Youth Life Transitions: Opportunities, Capabilities and Risks

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Egypt’s demographic profile shows a pronounced “youth bulge” – a situation in which the proportion of youth in the population is significantly large in comparison to other age groups. The 2006 census data show that around 25% of the Egyptian population is between the ages of 18 and 29.1 This youth bulge is the result of a population increase in the 1980s followed by relative fertility decline.

This demographic profile represents both an opportunity and a challenge. Once these young people reach their working age, their ratio to the older and younger non-working populations will constitute a “demographic gift” of low economic dependency. However, the large size of this group places enormous pressures on the educational system and the labor and housing markets. Failures in these institutions will result in the social and economic marginalization of a large proportion of youth that will be unable to compete in an increasingly globalized economy, hence constituting a “demographic burden” rather than a gift.


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