Egypt's population, estimated at 3 million when Napoleon invaded the country in 1798, has increased at varying rates. The population grew gradually and steadily throughout the nineteenth century, doubling in size over the course of eighty years. Beginning in the 1880s, the growth rate accelerated, and the population increased more than 600 percent in 100 years. The growth rate was especially high after World War II. In 1947 a census indicated that Egypt's population was 19 million. A census in 1976 revealed that the population had ballooned to 36.6 million. After 1976 the population grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent and in 1986 reached a total of 50.4 million, including about 2.3 million Egyptians working in other countries. Projections indicated the population would reach 60 million by 1996.
Egypt's population in mid-1990 was estimated at 52.5 million, about an 8 percent increase over the 1986 figure. The increase meant that the annual population growth rate had slowed slightly to 2.6 percent. Although Egypt's overall population density in 1990 was only about fifty-four people per square kilometer, close to 99 percent of all Egyptians lived along the banks of the Nile River in 3.5 percent of the country's total area. Average population densities in the Nile Valley exceeded 1,500 per square kilometer--one of the world's highest densities.
According to the 1986 census, 51.1 percent of Egypt's population was male and 48.9 percent female. More than 34 percent of the population was twelve years old or younger, and 68 percent was under age thirty. Fewer than 3 percent of Egyptians were sixty-five years or older. In 1989 average life expectancy at birth was fifty-nine years for men and sixty years for women. The infant mortality rate was 94 deaths per 1,000 births. Although the urban population has been increasing at a higher rate than the rural population since the 1947 census, approximately 51 percent of people still lived in villages in 1986. By the end of 1989, however, demographers estimated the urban-rural distribution to be equal.
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