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Social conditions

The standard of living is low in Algeria compared to that of other oil states and industrial nations; however, there are significant regional differences. There is a general shortage of goods. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of DZA and acronym for Algeria. The housing shortage is severe, and township towns, so-called bidonvilles, have grown up around the larger cities. About 20% of the population does not have access to clean water.

The social insurance system guarantees old-age and sickness pensions, child benefits and free health care for children and the elderly. However, health care, especially in rural areas, is unsatisfactory; there are 17 hospital beds (2004) and twelve doctors (2007) per 10,000 residents. However, qualified staff are available at 95% of all deliveries. In 2009, 11% of public spending went to health care. Infant mortality has been high, mainly due to water scarcity and water pollution, but has gradually decreased.

The high unemployment rate has dropped from about 30% in 2000 to about 11% in 2008. However, youth unemployment is still high, which has greatly contributed to the social unrest that characterizes the country. Many have applied abroad as guest workers, especially to France.

In the state of the near-civil war that has raged in Algeria since the 1990s, large sections of the population are living under strong pressure as a result of the attacks and acts of terrorism by Islamist extremists, as well as abuses and harsh methods by government troops and police. Women have been systematically murdered, as have journalists, teachers, artists and other carriers of "foreign thoughts".

Despite the fact that gender has equal rights under the Constitution, women are discriminated against; above all, they are often not allowed to live modern or "western". However, the proportion of women in working life has increased in recent years; In 2009, 37% of adult women were estimated to be working. Only 8% of MEPs are women. However, just over half of all university students are women.

There are three particular factors that made Algeria occupy a special place among developing countries for almost 30 years from 1960-90: the country's liberation from colonialism, an anti-imperialist foreign policy and a large-scale development model that would lead to a socialist society. But the development of recent years has postponed the dream indefinitely.

The pre-colonial period

The kingdoms formed in ancient times in Algeria were linked to two political centers in the region: Tunis from the Carthensian period (year 1000 BCE) and Morocco from the Arab conquest of the Iberian peninsula (711 AD). The country's middle position made it possible to gather the people who were dissatisfied with the tax discrimination between the Muslims who had long been converted and the newly converted. That later led to joining the Jaryites sect. This religious direction advocated for principles of equality. It believed that the caliph does not have to descended from Muhammad or his relatives. Thus, every Muslim regardless of race, color or social status should have the opportunity to advance to the Caliph. This attitude was particularly suited to the social reality of the Berbers as inferior to the Arabs, numerically reduced but politically hegemonic. Variants of this doctrine enjoyed widespread use among the Berbers and formed the basis of the North African empires.

When the Almohad empire came into crisis, the Yaglimorass ibn Ziane formed a new state along the coast of Algeria that enjoyed economic and cultural flourishing: the nomads became settled and the borders consolidated. The Zianids ruled the country during the period 1235-1518 and had to withstand Spanish invasions that resulted in the establishment of support points such as Oran, after Christian Spain in 1492 ended 7 century Muslim domination.

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