In Egypt, we used input data at the district level from the 2006 Population Census. Egypt’s administrative boundaries separate populated areas from the surrounding uninhabited desert areas.
While many neighboring countries release census data at a similar resolution, they do not separate uninhabited areas from populated areas. These large administrative units smooth out the population across the entire unit, resulting in population counts and densities that are very low, but are not zero.
Therefore, because the census boundaries for Egypt explicitly include large units with zero population, it appears quite different in the population count and density rasters than in the rest of northern Africa.