Egypt vs. Libya


99,413,317 (July 2018 est.)
6,754,507 (July 2018 est.)

note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data (2017)

Age structure
0-14 years: 33.38% (male 17,177,977 /female 16,007,877)
15-24 years: 18.65% (male 9,551,309 /female 8,988,006)
25-54 years: 37.71% (male 19,053,300 /female 18,431,808)
55-64 years: 5.99% (male 2,956,535 /female 2,995,497)
65 years and over: 4.28% (male 2,058,217 /female 2,192,791) (2018 est.)
0-14 years: 25.53% (male 882,099 /female 842,320)
15-24 years: 16.81% (male 582,247 /female 553,004)
25-54 years: 47.47% (male 1,684,019 /female 1,522,027)
55-64 years: 5.77% (male 197,196 /female 192,320)
65 years and over: 4.43% (male 147,168 /female 152,107) (2018 est.)
Median age
total: 23.9 years (2018 est.)
male: 23.6 years
female: 24.3 years
total: 29.4 years (2018 est.)
male: 29.5 years
female: 29.2 years
Population growth rate
2.38% (2018 est.)
1.45% (2018 est.)
Birth rate
28.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
17.2 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate
4.5 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
3.7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate
-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 18.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 19.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17 deaths/1,000 live births
total: 10.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 11.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.6 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 73.2 years (2018 est.)
male: 71.8 years
female: 74.7 years
total population: 76.9 years (2018 est.)
male: 75.1 years
female: 78.7 years
Total fertility rate
3.41 children born/woman (2018 est.)
2.03 children born/woman (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
<.1% (2018 est.)
0.2% (2018)
noun: Egyptian(s)
adjective: Egyptian
noun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan
Ethnic groups
Egyptian 99.7%, other 0.3% (2006 est.)

note: data represent respondents by nationality

Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
22,000 (2018 est.)
9,200 (2018)
Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 90%, Christian (majority Coptic Orthodox, other Christians include Armenian Apostolic, Catholic, Maronite, Orthodox, and Anglican) 10% (2015 est.)
Muslim (official; virtually all Sunni) 96.6%, Christian 2.7%, Buddhist 0.3%, Hindu <0.1, Jewish <0.1, folk religion <0.1, unafilliated 0.2%, other <0.1 (2010 est.)

note: non-Sunni Muslims include native Ibadhi Muslims (<1% of the population) and foreign Muslims

HIV/AIDS - deaths
<500 (2018 est.)
<200 (2018)
Arabic (official), Arabic, English, and French widely understood by educated classes
Arabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 80.8%
male: 86.5%
female: 75% (2017 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 96.7%
female: 85.6% (2015 est.)
Education expenditures
urban population: 42.7% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 1.86% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 80.4% of total population (2019)
rate of urbanization: 1.68% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0.6% of population (2015 est.)
improved: urban: 54.2% of population
rural: 54.9% of population
total: 54.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 45.8% of population
rural: 45.1% of population
total: 45.6% of population (2001 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 96.8% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 93.1% of population (2015 est.)
total: 94.7% of population (2015 est.)
unimproved: urban: 3.2% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 6.9% of population (2015 est.)
total: 5.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved: urban: 96.8% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 95.7% of population (2015 est.)
total: 96.6% of population (2015 est.)
unimproved: urban: 3.2% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 4.3% of population (2015 est.)
total: 3.4% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - population
20.485 million CAIRO (capital), 5.182 million Alexandria (2019)
1.161 million TRIPOLI (capital), 841,000 Misratah, 811,000 Benghazi (2019)
Maternal mortality rate
37 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
72 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Physicians density
0.79 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
2.16 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density
1.6 beds/1,000 population (2014)
3.7 beds/1,000 population (2014)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
32% (2016)
32.5% (2016)
Demographic profile

Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the third most populous country in Africa, behind Nigeria and Ethiopia. Most of the country is desert, so about 95% of the population is concentrated in a narrow strip of fertile land along the Nile River, which represents only about 5% of Egypt’s land area. Egypt’s rapid population growth – 46% between 1994 and 2014 – stresses limited natural resources, jobs, housing, sanitation, education, and health care.

Although the country’s total fertility rate (TFR) fell from roughly 5.5 children per woman in 1980 to just over 3 in the late 1990s, largely as a result of state-sponsored family planning programs, the population growth rate dropped more modestly because of decreased mortality rates and longer life expectancies. During the last decade, Egypt’s TFR decline stalled for several years and then reversed, reaching 3.6 in 2011, and has plateaued the last few years. Contraceptive use has held steady at about 60%, while preferences for larger families and early marriage may have strengthened in the wake of the recent 2011 revolution. The large cohort of women of or nearing childbearing age will sustain high population growth for the foreseeable future (an effect called population momentum).

Nevertheless, post-MUBARAK governments have not made curbing population growth a priority. To increase contraceptive use and to prevent further overpopulation will require greater government commitment and substantial social change, including encouraging smaller families and better educating and empowering women. Currently, literacy, educational attainment, and labor force participation rates are much lower for women than men. In addition, the prevalence of violence against women, the lack of female political representation, and the perpetuation of the nearly universal practice of female genital cutting continue to keep women from playing a more significant role in Egypt’s public sphere.

Population pressure, poverty, high unemployment, and the fragmentation of inherited land holdings have historically motivated Egyptians, primarily young men, to migrate internally from rural and smaller urban areas in the Nile Delta region and the poorer rural south to Cairo, Alexandria, and other urban centers in the north, while a much smaller number migrated to the Red Sea and Sinai areas. Waves of forced internal migration also resulted from the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and the floods caused by the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970. Limited numbers of students and professionals emigrated temporarily prior to the early 1970s, when economic problems and high unemployment pushed the Egyptian Government to lift restrictions on labor migration. At the same time, high oil revenues enabled Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and other Gulf states, as well as Libya and Jordan, to fund development projects, creating a demand for unskilled labor (mainly in construction), which attracted tens of thousands of young Egyptian men.

Between 1970 and 1974 alone, Egyptian migrants in the Gulf countries increased from approximately 70,000 to 370,000. Egyptian officials encouraged legal labor migration both to alleviate unemployment and to generate remittance income (remittances continue to be one of Egypt’s largest sources of foreign currency and GDP). During the mid-1980s, however, depressed oil prices resulting from the Iran-Iraq War, decreased demand for low-skilled labor, competition from less costly South Asian workers, and efforts to replace foreign workers with locals significantly reduced Egyptian migration to the Gulf States. The number of Egyptian migrants dropped from a peak of almost 3.3 million in 1983 to about 2.2 million at the start of the 1990s, but numbers gradually recovered.

In the 2000s, Egypt began facilitating more labor migration through bilateral agreements, notably with Arab countries and Italy, but illegal migration to Europe through overstayed visas or maritime human smuggling via Libya also rose. The Egyptian Government estimated there were 6.5 million Egyptian migrants in 2009, with roughly 75% being temporary migrants in other Arab countries (Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates) and 25% being predominantly permanent migrants in the West (US, UK, Italy, France, and Canada).

During the 2000s, Egypt became an increasingly important transit and destination country for economic migrants and asylum seekers, including Palestinians, East Africans, and South Asians and, more recently, Iraqis and Syrians. Egypt draws many refugees because of its resettlement programs with the West; Cairo has one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. Many East African migrants are interned or live in temporary encampments along the Egypt-Israel border, and some have been shot and killed by Egyptian border guards.

Despite continuing unrest, Libya remains a destination country for economic migrants. It is also a hub for transit migration to Europe because of its proximity to southern Europe and its lax border controls. Labor migrants have been drawn to Libya since the development of its oil sector in the 1960s. Until the latter part of the 1990s, most migrants to Libya were Arab (primarily Egyptians and Sudanese). However, international isolation stemming from Libya’s involvement in international terrorism and a perceived lack of support from Arab countries led QADHAFI in 1998 to adopt a decade-long pan-African policy that enabled large numbers of sub-Saharan migrants to enter Libya without visas to work in the construction and agricultural industries. Although sub-Saharan Africans provided a cheap labor source, they were poorly treated and were subjected to periodic mass expulsions.

By the mid-2000s, domestic animosity toward African migrants and a desire to reintegrate into the international community motivated QADHAFI to impose entry visas on Arab and African immigrants and to agree to joint maritime patrols and migrant repatriations with Italy, the main recipient of illegal migrants departing Libya. As his regime neared collapse in 2011, QADHAFI reversed his policy of cooperating with Italy to curb illegal migration and sent boats loaded with migrants and asylum seekers to strain European resources. Libya’s 2011 revolution decreased immigration drastically and prompted nearly 800,000 migrants to flee to third countries, mainly Tunisia and Egypt, or to their countries of origin. The inflow of migrants declined in 2012 but returned to normal levels by 2013, despite continued hostility toward sub-Saharan Africans and a less-inviting job market.

While Libya is not an appealing destination for migrants, since 2014, transiting migrants – primarily from East and West Africa – continue to exploit its political instability and weak border controls and use it as a primary departure area to migrate across the central Mediterranean to Europe in growing numbers. In addition, more than 200,000 people were displaced internally as of August 2017 by fighting between armed groups in eastern and western Libya and, to a lesser extent, by inter-tribal clashes in the country’s south.

Contraceptive prevalence rate
58.5% (2014)
27.7% (2014)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 61.8 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 53.6 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 8.2 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 12.2 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 49.1 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 42.6 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 6.4 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 15.5 (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook