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Will Rasmussen in the article “Egypt fights to stem rapid population growth,” writes about Egypt’s dilemma of trying to stop a vastly growing population. Egypt’s population doubled since President Hosni Mubarak took office in 1981 and it’s likely to double to 160 million by 2050. The nation’s growth has been quite high, in recent years the fertility rate is about 3.1 children per woman in contrast to the United States’ 2.1. Most of the country’s 82 million people compressed in urban areas near the Nile River where some districts host 41k people per square kilometer in comparison to the city of Manhattan that holds 27k people per square kilometer. The state’s officials are having a difficult time trying to find solution to the so called “pressing problem” as journalist and former member of parliament states “The population explosion is a crisis the government doesn’t know how to handle.” President Mubarak spoke once in a government sponsored conference about the population increase saying, “cutting the population growth was urgent.” However, Mubarak doesn’t mention an exact number of children on the other hand the government prefers a family of two.
The country’s urgent problem presents many concerns, one of which is the economy. The nation’s financial system is frail as estimated recently to be 7 percent and unfortunately has not been steady enough to construct a middle class. Such economy can’t support a large population whose one fifth is living on less than a 1$ a day. Additionally, Egypt does not processes many resources as it depends heavily on the water from the Nile and imported goods. Many are concerned about the general welfare of the people as Magued Osman, chairman of the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center states “The consequences are areal deterioration in the quality of life and in agriculture land per person.”
Furthermore, the government has tried to use incentives to modify the nation’s “behavior”. A few measures taken to restrict large families maternity benefits that sparked protests. Egypt is not going to legalize abortion which helped Tunisia bring down fertility rate and vasectomy is barely heard of in the state .
Egypt being a predominantly Muslim country, and generally the religion allows contraception. However many Egyptian people oppose the idea of limiting the number of kids to a family. A few believe having a large family is a source of economic strength. Others deem it not for the states or government to decide on such a matter as they say it is up to the creator.
Rasmussen, Will. “Egypt Fights to Stem Rapid Population Growth.” The New York Times.The New York Times., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. .