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Different social classes in Cairo, Egypt (Research Paper Sample)


writing about. 1. The gap between the rich and the poor in Cairo (using statistics compared to the other cities in the world) 2. The reasons why there are gaps between different social classes (Low, middle and high) in Cairo (including its history)


Different social classes in Cairo, Egypt
Course Professor University State Date
Over the next three decades or so, the global population is anticipated to grow by approximately one-third. However, this growth will be highly experienced in the urban regions of poor, developing nations (United Nations 2002). Of the expected 2 billion people to be added to this planet, up to 1.9 billion will reside in cities of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. By contrast, rural population is likely to experience little change over that period. Developing nations have rapidly urbanized as evidenced by the fact that urban populations rose from 20 percent in 1950 to nearly 60 percent in the past 3 decades. Nonetheless, this swift urbanization has been associated with rising urban challenges including poverty. Consequently, there have been collective efforts towards achieving what is commonly referred to as millennium development goals (Tadros 2006, 237-254). Egypt is one of the many countries supporting this agenda after realizing that the gulf between the rich and poor in cities is increasingly widening. Therefore, poverty lines become the most influential measure of poverty in Cairo.
Cairo is fairly famous throughout the world since it is the largest city in Africa as well as the Middle East. Additionally, the city has been the capital of Egypt for up to 1,000 years. The city remains an important cultural and political focal point throughout the region. Its habitants are approximately 15 million persons (El Zanaty & Way 2004). Social classes based on poverty are common in the greater Cairo, as is the cases in other cities in developing countries. Chiefly, they consist of high, middle and low classes. In particular, the gap between the low (poor) and high (wealthy) classes is evident in the city. (UNDP 2003). For instance, most inhabitants live in apartment buildings. Cairo has experienced rising inequalities in income levels rendering most residents poor. According to Coleman (2011), the inner city is virtually made of wealthy as evidenced by gated communities with names such as Mayfair, Le Reve and others. This explains that there are rich persons living in inner parts of the city. They occupy stand-alone villas with prices ranging from $250,000 through $1 million (Coleman 2011). Most of these suburbs occupy New Cairo area and are mostly inhabited by elite businessmen. Meanwhile, the South of Cairo reveals an unwanted picture with many families living in mud houses. Additionally, such areas of the city are characterized by dirt roads lined with raw sewage and garbage. In fact, majority of families have few material possessions all of which underline a sense of relative deprivation. Basically, these are slums around Cairo including Mashiet Nasser. The poor persons living in these areas (about 65 percent) do not have basic necessities for life including water and electricity (World Bank 2001). Altogether, the divide between rich and poor is massive and has fuelled frustrations leading to the recent uprising. In contrast, the gap between the rich and poor is much the same is most sub-saharan cities. As a matter of fact, most cities in developing countries reveal similar characteristics. For instance, Lebanon shows that the distribution of expenditure is relatively unequal. The poor population accounts for only 7 percent of total expenditure while the richest accounts for about 43 percent. Most Lebanese consume less than average (Laithy et al 2008, 3-12). 
The informal settlements generally have high levels of the urban is worth noting that a considerable percentage of poor families living in Cairo can be found in older middle class neighborhoods. However, they are classified as poor because of the stark contrast with new suburbs hosting the rich. Older middle class neighborhoods are also deteriorated and or under-served. Thus, they do not qualify as rich residential areas and for this reason more and more poorer people have occupied them
The greater Cairo is rather rich historically. A number of inner areas of Cairo were developed early in the 19th century and constitute small pockets of very dilapidated structures. These areas accommodate quite poor populations. Informal setllements in Greater Cairo mushroomed after Second World War and today houses about half of city’s population. The immediate period following the war set the scene for subsequent explosive growth in terms of development and population. The free-spending ways of the allied forces ensured that the city’s economy enjoyed a boom. In addition, its industrial base started to expand swiftly because of bourgeois industrialists who started toi invest heavily in industries (Sims 2003, pp. 1-19). With basic infrastructure (Nile bridges, railways) already in place, many inhabitants started migrating to the city. They mostly crowded the Eastern and Southern parts. Already, there were squattters/informal settlers in such areas as Boulaq and historical parts of the city. An established pattern of poor migrants grew after finding basic accomodation (Mason & Sang-Hyop 2005, pp 17-19). As population continued to expand rapidly, growth started to dwindle in some parts of the city. The main bloc of growth remained at the north, because the wide delta plain facilitated easy conversion to urban use. In addition, development was development was pulled by the newly established industrial regions of Shubra el Kheima as well as by numerous housing projects. The west bank of nile quickly urbanized, mostly housing middle class population. Altogether, rapid growth in population contributed to social class segregation. The heavily crowded areas by rural migrants resulted to low class residential areas. On the other hand, those who found employment in industries gave rise to middle class neighborhoods. High class residental areas in the city comprised of few migrants who invaded the city after finding high-level employment. They are mostly high-ranking government officials and infuential bussinessmen.
The gaps between various social classes in the city can also be attirbuted to employment oppportunities available to the residents. Household income is of great inmportance when determining social classes in any part of the world. For instance, reports indicate that Ezbet Bekhit has household income as follows: 50.1 percent between $44.1 and $88.2 per month, about 34 percent above $88.2 per month a...
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