The article analyzes the specifics of urbanization dynamics in Egypt, which is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, there was a shift from the logistic trend in the 1970s, and the share of urban population stopped growing. The UN data analysis shows that such a shift usually occurs against the background of very serious economic difficulties (and other problems associated with them). However, the urban population proportion stopped growing in Egypt when the country was experiencing a period of exceedingly rapid economic growth. We find labor migration of unprecedented scale to be the main reason which engendered this seemingly paradoxical situation. We further proceed to analyze the UN forecast on the dynamics of the Egyptian urban population proportion up to 2050, which implies a return to the logistic trend and rapid growth of the urban population share, which is fraught with socio-political instability risks. However, we present data proving that the logistic urbanization trajectory is not inevitable for Egypt, and the destabilization risks connected with the rapid increase of urban population share are largely irrelevant to Egypt in the forecasted period.
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See, for example, Michael Pacione, Urban Geography: A Global Perspective (3rd ed.) (Routledge, 2009).
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Indeed, did not one of the slogans chanted by the Bread Riot participants sound as follows: Yā baṭal al-ùbūr! Fēn al-fuṭūr? “Hero of the Crossing, where is [our] breakfast?” (addressing President Sadat).
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Andrey Korotayev, Daria Khaltourina, Artemy Malkov, Justislav Bogevolnov, Svetlana Kobzeva, and Julia Zinkina, Mathematical Modeling and Forecasting World and Regional Development (Moscow: KomKniga, 2010), in Russian,p. 168. Andrey Korotayev, Julia Zinkina, Svetlana Kobzeva, Justislav Bogevolnov, Daria Khaltourina, Artemy Malkov, and Sergey Malkov, “A Trap at the Escape from the Trap? Demographic-Structural Factors of Political Instability in Modern Africa and West Asia,” Cliodynamics: The Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History 2:2 (2011), 276–303 (Appendix D).
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Korotayev et al., “Mathematical Modeling,” 167-168; Korotayev et al., “A Trap at the Escape from the Trap,” Appendix D.
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Handoussa, Nishimizu, and Page, “Productivity Change,” 55; Dobronogov and Iqbal, “Economic Growth in Egypt,” 2.
Korotayev et al., “Mathematical Modeling,” 168; Korotayev et al., “A Trap at the Escape from the Trap.”
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Zohry, Interrelationships, 15.
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Egypt State Information Service, “Local and Rural Development,” SIS Yearbook 2006, http://www.sis.gov.eg/en/Story.aspx?sid=2356. Yunan Labib Rizk, “Village Choice,” Al-Ahram Weekly 758 (September 1-7, 2005), http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/758/chrncls.htm.NasrSh., “SMEs Gaining Ground,” Al-Ahram Weekly 1001 (June 3-9, 2010), http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/1001/ec2.htm.
Korotayev et al., “Mathematical Modeling”; Korotayev et al., “A Trap at the Escape from the Trap”.