Egypt

Living Standards and Poverty Levels

Human Development Indicators

Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI), compiled by the UNDP, is a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development - a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. For details on how the HDI is calculated, see Technical note 1 at http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2013_EN_TechNotes.pdf.[34]

Table 3.5 provides comparative information for the HDI of Egypt and selected countries over the period 1990 to 2015.

Table 3.5: Country comparisons on the Human Development Index (1990–2015)

HDI Rank Country 1990 2000 2010 2014 2015
Very high Human Development  
1 Norway 0.849 0.917 0.939 0.948 0.949
2 Australia 0.866 0.899 0.927 0.937 0.939
2 Switzerland 0.831 0.888 0.932 0.938 0.939
High Human Development  
64 Mauritius 0.620 0.673 0.748 0.779 0.781
71 Turkey 0.576 0.653 0.737 0.764 0.767
83  Algeria 0.577 0.644 0.724 0.743 0.745
102  Libya 0.681 0.732 0.756 0.719 0.716
Medium Human Development  
111 Egypt 0.547 0.612 0.671 0.688 0.691
119 South Africa 0.621 0.629 0.638 0.665 0.666
123 Morocco 0.458 0.530 0.612 0.645 0.647
146 Kenya  0.473  0.447  0.530  0.550  0.555 
Low Human Development
151 Tanzania 0.370 0.391 0.498 0.519 0.531
152 Nigeria 0.500 0.525 0.527
163 Uganda 0.309 0.396 0.477 0.488 0.493
171  Afghanistan  0.295  0.340  0.454  0.479  0.479 
176 DRC 0.356 0.331 0.398 0.425 0.435

Source: UNDP, 2016[35]

Egypt is a country of medium human development, which currently ranks 111th out of 188 countries with a HDI value of 0.691. Egypt falls below African countries of high human development such as Algeria (0.745) and Libya (0.716), but ahead of countries of medium human development such as South Africa (0.666), Morocco (0.647) and Kenya (0.555), and of low human development such as Tanzania (0.531), and Nigeria (0.527). The country has shown substantial improvement in its HDI value from 1990, when it scored 0.547.[36] (See Figure 3.8 below.)

Figure 3.8
Source: UNDP, 2016[37]
Figure 3.8: Regional comparison: Human Development Index (1990–2015)

Lived Poverty Index

The Lived Poverty Index is compiled by Afrobarometer, an initiative of researchers of Michigan State University who team up with local organisations in the countries they research. Afrobarometer believed that the essence of poverty was not well captured by existing measures, and thus developed the Lived Poverty Index (LPI). The LPI is comprised of five key questions, the answers to which indicate the respondents’ experiences of poverty.[38]

The questions cover whether respondent(s) have had enough food to eat; access to clean drinking water; medicines or medical treatment; cooking fuel; and a cash income in the year preceding the survey. Table 3.6 indicates the results based on the LPI questions for Egypt in the sixth round of Afrobarometer studies (2015 data).

Table 3.6: Lived Poverty Index of Egypt (Round 6, 2015) (% of respondents)

Over the past year, how often, if ever, have you or anyone in your family:
Frequency Urban Rural Average
Gone without enough food to eat?
Never 87.6 86.4 86.9
Just once or twice 8.2 9.2 8.7
Several times 2.8 2.1 2.4
Many times 0.5 2.0 1.3
Always 0.6 0.1 0.3
Don’t know 0.3 0.2 0.3
Gone without enough clean water for home use?
Never 81.8 70.0 75.2
Just once or twice 11.7 12.9 12.4
Several times 4.3 9.5 7.2
Many times 1.5 5.1 3.5
Always 0.4 2.0 1.3
Don’t know 0.3 0.5 0.4
Gone without medicines or medical treatment?
Never 72.2 67.7 69.7
Just once or twice 16.3 15.6 15.9
Several times 7.6 8.3 8.0
Many times 3.3 7.6 5.7
Always 0.3 0.6 0.4
Don’t know 0.3 0.3 0.3
Gone without enough fuel to cook your food?
Never 52.9 49.8 51.2
Just once or twice 24.9 21.4 22.9
Several times 15.3 19.8 17.8
Many times 5.5 7.6 6.7
Always 0.5 0.9 0.7
Don’t know 0.9 0.5 0.7
Gone without a cash income?
Never 68.0 62.6 65.0
Just once or twice 20.0 24.3 22.4
Several times 5.5 6.1 5.9
Many times 4.9 5.4 5.2
Always 0.9 0.2 0.5
Don’t know 0.6 1.4 1.0

Source: Afrobarometer, 2016[39]

In Egypt, the need for cash income was always met for 65% of the respondents, while the need for enough food to eat, access to clean water for home use, and medicines or medical treatment was met for 87%, 75% and 70% of respondents respectively. The highest unmet need experienced by respondents was for fuel to cook food – almost half of respondents had gone without fuel to cook at some point during the preceding year (see table 3.6 above for more details). People in rural areas were more likely to go without some of these basic necessities than those in urban areas.[40]

The frequencies of ‘several times’, ‘many times’ and ‘always’ responses to having gone without these necessities were as follows:

  • A cash income = 11.6%.
  • Clean water for home use = 12%.
  • Food = 12.4%.
  • Medicines or medical treatment = 14.1%.
  • Enough fuel to cook food = 25.2%.

It is clear that fuel for cooking food is a major need, followed by medicines or medical treatment. The greatest difference between urban and rural Egypt lies in having access to clean water for home use–where the percentage of the rural population who had no access to clean water (2%) was over four times the percentage of the urban population for whom this was the                       case (0.4%).[41]

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) measures the extent of poverty experienced across multiple dimensions: education, health and living standards. Two indicators each are used for education and health, and six are used for the standard of living dimension. If the household deprivation score is 33.3% or greater, that household and all its members are considered to be multi-dimensionally poor. Households with a deprivation score of 50% or more are considered to be in severe multidimensional poverty. In households with a deprivation score greater than or equal to 20% but less than 33.3%, the people in that household are vulnerable to becoming multi-dimensionally poor.[42]

The percentage of Egyptians living in multidimensional poverty was 4.2% in 2014, with a further 5.6% of the population at risk of becoming multidimensionally poor. In addition, 0.4% of the population was living in severe multidimensional poverty. The contributions of deprivation in education, health, and living standards to overall poverty were 45.6%, 46.7% and 7.8% respectively. A quarter of the population lived below the national income poverty line.[43]

Table 3.7: Multidimensional Poverty Index statistics for Egypt (2014)

Indicator 2014
Population in multidimensional poverty (%) 4.2
Population near multidimensional poverty (%) 5.6
Population in severe multidimensional poverty (%) 0.4
Contribution of deprivation in education to overall poverty (%) 45.6
Contribution of deprivation in health to overall poverty (%) 46.7
Contribution of deprivation in living standards to overall poverty (%) 7.8
Population living below national income poverty line (%) 25.2
Population living below income poverty line, PPP $1.90 a day (%)

Source: UNDP, 2016[44]

The Egyptian population living in multi-dimensional poverty was 4.2% in 2014, which was a smaller percentage than the South African population of 10.3% in this bracket in 2012, and substantially smaller than the Nigerian population of 50.9% in 2013. The percentage of the population living near multidimensional poverty in Egypt (5.6%) was substantially lower than in both South Africa (17.1%) and Nigeria (18.4%). Similarly, the percentage of the population living in severe multidimensional poverty in Egypt was a third of South Africa’s (1.3%) and a fraction of that in Nigeria (30%). For Egypt (46.7%) and South Africa (61.4%) health was the largest contributor to overall poverty, while in Nigeria, deprivation in living standards (40.4%) was the largest contributor.

The percentage of the population living below the national income poverty line in Egypt (25.2%) was less than half the share of the South African population below that country’s poverty line (53.8%), and also well below the figure in Nigeria (46%).[45]

Table 3.8: Regional comparison: Multidimensional Poverty Index statistics (2015)

  Egypt South Africa Nigeria
Multidimensional Poverty Index Year 2014 2012 2013
Population in multidimensional poverty (%) 4.2  10.3 50.9
Population near multidimensional poverty (%) 5.6  17.1 18.4
Population in severe multidimensional poverty (%) 0.4  1.3 30.0
Contribution of deprivation in education to overall poverty (%) 45.6  8.4 29.8
Contribution of deprivation in health to overall poverty (%) 46.7  61.4 29.8
Contribution of deprivation in living standards to overall poverty (%) 7.8  30.2 40.4
Population living below national income poverty line (%) 25.2  53.8 46.0
Population living below income poverty line, PPP $1.25 a day (%)   9.4 62.0

Source: UNDP, 2016[46]

  • Country Profile
  • Introduction
  • Broad Economic Indicators
  • Currency and Exchange Rate
  • Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business
  • Foreign Investment and Largest Companies
  • Foreign Aid
  • Country Strategic Framework
  • Summary of Economic Conditions
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations
  • Population
  • Living Standards and Poverty Levels
  • Healthcare
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations
  • Qualifications Profile of the Population and Workforce
  • Levels of Schooling and Basic Education
  • Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • Tertiary Education
  • Innovation in Egypt
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations
  • Labour Force
  • Employment by Sector
  • Employment by Skill Level
  • Employment by Occupation
  • Labour Productivity
  • Unemployment and Job Creation
  • Expatriates, Immigrants and the Egyptian Diaspora
  • Wage and Salary Trends and Social Insurance
  • Industrial Relations Framework
  • Labour Market Efficiency
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Implications, Challenges and Recommendations

Socio-Demographic Indicators

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