Newsweek

Forget ISIS, Egypt's Baby Boom Is its Biggest Threat

Egypt's ballooning birth rate and severe food and water shortage could threaten its national security.
An Egyptian nurse monitors the newborn septuplets of a woman who gave birth to four boys and three girls at the hospital of the University of Alexandria on August 16, 2008. Not easy at all. Egypt's population rose to almost 93 million earlier this year; demographers project that the country's total will be 150 million by 2050.
03_31_Egypt_01 Source: Adel El-Masry/AFP/Getty

Mohsen Samir Mohammed never wanted more than four kids, but as his cousins and brothers living down the block in Ezbet Khairallah, one of Cairo’s poorest and most densely populated districts, welcomed son after son—and even insulted his manhood—the amiable 35-year-old started to wonder: Did he have enough children? Annoyed by their taunts, he persuaded his wife to go off birth control. Over the next four years, they added a fifth, sixth and seventh new member of the family.

Sitting in the unlit stairwell of his building, Mohammed now has regrets. His meager salary from a factory that makes steel shutters is barely enough to feed his family, which subsists on stewed fava beans and bread. With no means of affording even the 15-cent bus rides to school

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