Where Are All the Jobs? Capturing the Demographic Dividend in Islamic Countries

  • Gavin W. Jones


The demographic dividend following sustained fertility decline is marked by rapid increase in the size of the working-age population, and the slower increase – or even decline – in the population of children. Most Muslim-majority countries are currently experiencing these trends. It is not inevitable that the dividend will be realized; this requires a suitable expansion of education to prepare the large cohorts of young working-age population for employment, and an expansion of job opportunities for the young people entering the workforce. If either or both of these requirements are not met, the dividend can quickly turn into a disaster. Islamic countries show a mixed record in educational improvement, provision of jobs (with the MENA region experiencing particularly high unemployment rates) and employment-to-population ratios. The next 10 years will be years of great challenge for many of these countries. Their working-age population will be continuing to grow rapidly, requiring job creation to be very rapid to prevent unemployment rates from rising. Their education systems will need to be modernized and fitted for the challenges of the globalized economy. The slowing of growth of the school-age population will assist in this endeavour.


Unemployment Rate Fertility Decline Dependency Ratio Labour Force Participation Rate High Unemployment Rate 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asia Research InstituteNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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