Map Explainer: The Gaza Strip
Recent attacks on Israel by Hamas have placed the Gaza Strip firmly in the spotlight of the global news cycle.
While conflict in that part of the world is thoroughly covered in headlines and news stories, more basic facts about Gaza receive less attention. With this infographic, we aim to fill in some of those gaps, including demographics, infrastructure, and more.
Below, we outline three key facts to know about the Gaza Strip and the people who live there:
1. Gaza is Young and Increasingly Crowded
Gaza has a high fertility rate (3.9), and as a result, nearly half of the people living there are children. Much of this rapidly growing population lives in crowded cities and camps that are some of the most densely populated areas in the world.
The majority of people in the Gaza Strip are officially considered refugees by the UN. Over many decades, refugee camps have become permanent settlements, blending with the surrounding urban areas. Upwards of 80% of the population relies on international aid for basic services and sustenance.
In terms of religion, Gaza is very uniform. 99% of the population are Sunni Muslims. This is similar to Egypt and other North African nations.
2. The Territory is Tightly Controlled
Israel has enforced a land, air, and sea blockade since 2007, when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and Israel’s Security Cabinet labeled region a “hostile entity”. The land border of Gaza Strip is heavily fortified consisting of double-wired fencing and concrete barriers. These borders follow the “Green Line”, a demarcation set after the end of the Arab–Israeli War. There is also a 100-300 meter buffer zone inside the territory’s border where access is restricted.
There are two border crossings—one into Egypt in the south and one into Israel in the north—that a limited number of civilians can cross. Over the years, border crossings on the east side of the territory have been closed down. There is an additional large scale crossing on the bottom corner of the territory that serves as a checkpoint for goods entering from Egypt.
The region’s airspace is controlled by Israel. Even its electro-magnetic space is restricted, meaning many Palestinians rely on 2G and 3G.
3. Infrastructure is Patchy
Multiple years of conflict and underinvestment have left infrastructure in shambles in much of the Gaza Strip.
For example, there is a just single diesel power plant servicing the entire region. Power lines run into Gaza from neighboring Israel, but even in non-conflict periods, the region runs a large electricity deficit.
Gaza accesses fresh water via the Coastal Aquifer—an underground water supply that is dwindling due to over-extraction—and from desalination plants. International aid efforts are improving the situation, but infrastructure remains damaged by neglect and intermittent air strikes.
Water treatment infrastructure has slowly been improving due to foreign aid, and less raw sewage is now entering the Mediterranean Sea. This clean-up effort has helped create more recreation opportunities along the territory’s beaches.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
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