Page update - Aug 30, 2023
Most people think that the modern population of Egypt are Arabs, who have nothing to do with the ancient Egyptians, the Great Pyramids or the Sphinx. But is this true? What are the percentages of Arab genes and ancient genes in modern Egyptians? How many are them, what is their religion, what language do they speak? Let's find out on this page.
The figures and other information on this page were updated in August 2023.
Unfortunately, the population data is very inaccurate. The last full-fledged census in Egypt was conducted in 2006, when 72 million people were counted. In 2017, the E-Census was conducted. CAPMAS (Egypt's Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics) is in charge of the censuses and population estimates.
The data for later years (from 2018 to the current 2023 year) were calculated on the basis of the trend. If the calculated coefficients match reality, then in 2022 Egypt have almost 103 million people.
|94,798,827 (+9.4 millions abroad)
|CAPMAS, based on calculations
Egypt's population is growing by about 1.8% a year. Now Egypt has the 14th place in the TOP of world's most populated countries. If this trend continues, by about 2035 Egypt will enter the TOP-10. However, Egyptian demographers believe that the population will no longer grow at such a rate, as social, economic, and political problems hinder this.
Egypt is one of the youngest countries in the world, with an average age of 24.8 years. And it is not surprising that Egyptians were almost unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. As of now (August 2023), they have only 24,600 coronavirus deaths. It is 234 deaths per million people. To compare, the UK has 186,087, that is, 2,711 deaths per million people. Compare the figures, make conclusions.
The vast majority of Egypt's territory is a lifeless desert, and 95% of the population is concentrated along the Nile River and in the delta. The population density in the delta is enormous - 1500-2000 inhabitants per square kilometer (3900-5200 per square mile).
90% of Egypt's population are Muslims, and these people are commonly referred to as "Egyptian Arabs". The remaining 10% are Orthodox Christians, and they call themselves "Copts". It is the Copts who consider themselves the true heirs of the ancient Egyptians.
The remaining ethnic groups are few (less than 1%): Nubians in the south, Berbers in the west, and Beja in the southeast. There are also many foreigners now living in Egypt as permanent residents, mostly retired Europeans. There are no exact estimates of the number of these people, but according to the CIA World Factbook they are about 0.4%.
Culturally, they are Arabs, there is no doubt about that. 90% of the country's inhabitants practice Islam. The country is called the Arab Republic of Egypt. The official language is MSA (Modern Standard Arabic), but in everyday life they speak their own dialect. We talked about it in detail in the review "What language do the Egyptians speak".
The Egyptians are the most numerous Arab nation in the world. And the Egyptian dialect is the most widely spoken Arabic dialect in the world.
However, there is now a clear tendency for Egyptian society to drift away from the Arab world. More and more Egyptians do not call themselves "Arabs" but "Egyptians". And they apply the word "Arabs" exclusively to the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf).
Genetically, modern Egyptians are far from being Arabs. In the following we will quote figures from studies by Doron Behar (2010), Brenn Henn (2012), and Daniel Schreiner (2014).
So, in terms of gene composition, modern Egyptians are:
|Result of the Arab conquest in the 7th and 8th centuries
|Here we mean the peoples of Libya, Syria, Jordan, Israel. Kindred peoples
|Result of Greek migration to Egypt after conquest by Alexander the Great, and during Roman times
|These are the peoples of Ethiopia and Somalia. Kindred peoples
|Native population of North Africa. Kindred peoples
|A controversial point. There is even an opinion that the true ancient Egyptians were black Africans
Can modern Egyptians consider themselves Arabs? This is an open question. On the one hand, the Arab proportion in the genome is the highest. On the other hand, it is only 26.4%. Given these figures, it is better to let them decide for themselves whether they are Arabs or not.
The low percentage of Arab genes is quite logical. The Arab conquerors were not numerous, and they won battles by good training, not by numbers. They also actively used soldiers of already conquered peoples in their war campaigns. The Arabs were not able to displace the local population. The Arabization of the country took place and succeeded on a cultural rather than a genetic level.
We would like to attract attention to the fact that no large-scale studies of the genome of modern Egyptians has yet been conducted. All the data is based on very small samples of hundreds of people. When a large-scale study (of 10,000 or more people) will be conducted, the data on the genome may turn out to be different.
But so far, Egypt has no money for such scientific research. The country has huge unemployment and many other political and economic problems. Egyptians don't have resources for genetic research right now.
It turns out that all of our cats are Egyptian!
In 2017, the results of a study by a team of geneticists led by Claudio Ottoni were published. It turned out that all of our cats came from Egypt.
It was in Egypt that "Felis silvestris lybica" cats were domesticated back in the Stone Age. Sailors took them on the ships to protect the food supply from rats. This is how Egyptian cats spread throughout the world. Genetic studies prove this theory.
- Remember that the resorts and the rest of the country are two different worlds. In the resorts, you will never see the life of real modern Egyptians. To see it, it is best to go to Cairo. Read our reviews "From Hurghada to Cairo and back" and "From Sharm El-Sheikh to Cairo and back";
- Although Coptic Christians make up only 10% of the population, their religious holidays are official in the country. Namely: Christmas, Easter, and Easter Monday. Read more in our review "Holidays in Egypt".
Have a great vacation in Egyptian resorts, and read our interesting pages about Egypt (see the list of the pages below).
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