Quarter of Egyptians now living in poverty: State data

Marwa Hussein, Tuesday 31 Jan 2012

Number of Egyptians living under the poverty line grew nearly 4 per cent over the last few years of Mubarak's rule, new figures for the 2010/11 financial year show

51 per cent of the population living in rural areas in Upper Egypt is poor. (Photo:Reuters)

A quarter of Egyptians are now living in poverty, according to new statistics which show the proportion steadily climbed over the last 12 years of toppled president Hosni Mubarak's rule.

Around 25.2 per cent of Egyptians officially counted as poor in the 2010/11 financial year, up from 21.6 per cent in 2008/9 and just 16.7 per cent in 1999/2000, according to an income and expenditure survey released by state statistics body CAPMAS on Tuesday.
CAPMAS defines the poor as those whose per person spending falls below LE3,076 ($500)  per year, or LE265 ($43.9) per month.
While the number of poor has surged, the percentage of so-called 'extreme poor' -- those spending less than LE172 ($28.5) a month -- has marginally declined. 
The proportion fell from 6.1 per cent in 2009/9 to 4.8 per cent in 2010/11. However, both figures are still far higher than 1999/2000's proportion of 2.9 per cent.
CAPMAS tracks poverty conditions by geographical areas, education level, family size and working conditions. 
According to the study, a person is more likely to be poor if he is illiterate, has many siblings and lives in a rural area of Upper Egypt.
Around 51 per cent of the population living in rural areas in Upper Egypt counts as poor versus an average of 10 per cent in urban governorates.
More than 26 per cent of illiterate Egyptians are poor, and the percentage of poverty falls in relations to higher education levels. Despite high unemployment rates among the university-educated, just 6.5 per cent of graduates count as poor.
The bigger the family, the more likely it is to be in poverty, the study shows.
Only 5 per cent of families with less than 4 members are poor while 64 per cent of familuies composed of 10 or more persons fall below the poverty line.
The average monthly spending of an Egyptian family in 2010/11 was LE1,929 ($32). In urban areas it was LE2,224 ($369), in rural places LE1,688 ($280).
The majority of Egyptian's spending is on food and beverages, a tendency that increases with the level of poverty.
In 2010/11, the poorest spend more than 49 per cent of their income on food. The richest fifth of Egyptian society, meanwhile, spent 32.5 per cent.
Housing is, after food, Egyptian's second biggest cash-swallower, although rich and poor spend roughly the same proportion of their total incomes.
At 71 per cent, employment is, unsurprisingly, Egyptian's main source of income.
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