Fifty years of rapid population growth in the Middle East is coming to an end. The Middle East is experiencing the same “demographic transition” to slow population growth that other areas have gone through. The immediate reason for the slower population growth is a fall in the number of children born to the average woman over her lifespan, known as the “total fertility rate” (TFR). While contraception availability and urbanization played a part in the declining TFR, the main factor was the empowerment of women. In recent decades, Middle Eastern women have made great progress at gaining more equal access to education, but that has not yet translated into more access to employment outside the home. The demographic transition through which the Middle East is passing presents an opportunity that is also a challenge. The opportunity is several decades in which the economy faces a relatively light burden in caring for children and the elderly. However, the Middle East can only take advantage of this opportunity if it can create enough jobs for the young people born during the years of rapid population growth. If jobs are not created in sufficient numbers to absorb those joining the labor market, the resulting rise in unemployment could have a considerable political impact. Meanwhile, within a few decades, the Middle East is expected to experience a rapid increase in the elderly population, which by 2050 will exceed the number of children in many of the region’s countries.
Published by the GLORIA Center,Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya Volume 10, No. 2, Article 4 – June 2006Total Circulation 22,500 IRAQ’S FUTURE: A CONCEPT PAPERPatrick Clawson* This article is part of a paper originally written for a project and conference on ‘Stability, Crises, and Democratization: The Arab World’s Direction and the European Interests,’ co-sponsored by the GLORIA […]
Volume 8, No. 1 – March 2004 THE PARADOX OF ANTI-AMERICANISM IN IRAN By Patrick Clawson This article analyzes the roots of anti-American sentiment in Iran, considering the impact of Islamism, nationalism, Third Worldism, and nativism on Iranian ideology and rhetoric following the country’s 1979 Revolution. In addition, the author looks at the extent to […]