The social system that prevailed before the coming of the French
had little need for public welfare. Extended families, clans,
and tribes cared for their elderly and needy members, and granaries
maintained by villages or tribal units stored grain for use in
years of poor harvest. During the French colonial period, the
old way of life was substantially altered, but in the early 1990s
enough of the old system remained for the traditional sense of
personal responsibility to rank high among accepted social values.
The fabric of the socialist system, however, was based largely
on the concept of public responsibility for welfare, and during
the first years after independence the government of Algeria set
about extending the public welfare program. A system of family
allowances for employed persons had been instituted by the French
in 1943, and in 1949 a limited social security program had been
initiated for urban employees and some agricultural workers. These
systems remained in effect after independence. In 1971 a new social
security ordinance extended to all agricultural personnel the
benefits already enjoyed by industrial and service sector workers.
This program has provided sickness and disability insurance, old
age pensions, and family allowances and has been financed by contributions
from employees, employers, and the government.
Data as of December 1993