Population Projections for Socioeconomic Development in the Gaza Strip

Jun 2006

By all accounts, demographic pressures in the Gaza Strip — in terms of population density, age structure, and growth rate — are extraordinarily high compared to neighboring countries and regions. This population pressure, combined with limited resources and territorial isolation, places immense strain on public services, social and political institutions, and the natural environment. At the same time, insecurity resulting from a deteriorating political context leads to further poverty and unemployment. Together these conditions require both immediate a�ention and long-term development planning, both of which are, admittedly, difficult in an environment of continuing political uncertainties. Since September 2000, the Gaza population has suffered periods of protracted closure imposed by the Israeli authorities. This has had deleterious consequences on the socioeconomic situation in the Gaza Strip [1, 2]. Currently, 30.3% of the Gazan workforce is unemployed [3]. Concomitantly, poverty is rampant. As of 2004, 37.2% of Gazan families were below the poverty line,1 26.0% of whom experienced extreme poverty2 [4] suggesting that the majority of poor households in Gaza are unable to meet their most basic needs. These challenges to human security are exacerbated by the fact that approximately 64% of the Gaza population are refugees [5], approximately half of whom still reside in camps [6, 7].

Geographic Region: