In late November, Jordan conducted a national population and housing census, and the preliminary results revealed two weeks ago show that nearly one third of the Kingdom’s 9.5 million residents are non-Jordanians. The rise in Jordan’s population, especially the increasing number of Syrian refugees in the Kingdom, has many Jordanian citizens concerned about the country’s resources and economy.
To understand the sheer scale of the Syrian refugee situation, here's a picture of a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. pic.twitter.com/2MkHk0MAv7— Delic #BDS (@HamdoDelic) January 20, 2016
The initial results, which were made available to Jordanian daily newspaper, Al Rai, reveal that the number of Jordanians is around 6.6 million, and the number of non-Jordanians who reside in the Kingdom is around 2.9 million, which is 30.6 percent of the overall population, including Syrians, Egyptians and Iraqis. According to the results, Amman’s population more than doubled between 2004 and 2015, increasing from 1.9 million to over 4 million.
(Grace Dabdoub/Leen Hajjar)
Former Ministry of Labor employee, Grace Dabdoub said: “The growing population in the country is a huge concern to Jordan’s security, limited resources, and economic sustainability. Specifically, the large number of Syrian refugees in the Kingdom has taken an immense toll on Jordan’s economy and resources including water, electricity, and health services especially in Jordanian host communities located in the cities of Mafraq and Irbid. However, prior to the Syrian refugee crisis, the unemployment rate among Jordanians was extremely high. Thus, new strategies and investments in the economic sector must be implemented to create more job opportunities for all residents. By providing jobs to all citizens, regardless of nationality, we will be able to reach a more sustainable and positive society.”
(Zara Najjar /Leen Hajjar)
Soon-to-be university graduate Zara Najjar said: The Syrian refugee crisis is without a doubt affecting our economy as a whole and by that, inevitably affecting the job market. Refugees who are able to assimilate into Jordanian society seem to be taking on manual work. I’m concerned about the increasing numbers of refugees from all the war-torn countries in the region that are forced to leave their homes and find refuge in new countries, specifically Jordan.”
A member of an international humanitarian organization who has worked with Syrian refugees in Jordan is unconcerned about the large number of Syrian residents. She said: “Syrians aren’t taking jobs from Jordanians, they’re taking all the dirty poor jobs because they are willing to do so for nothing. They should be given the same job opportunities as Jordanians because I believe they would enrich the community. Syrians are known to be entrepreneurial and thus, their skills would help create new job opportunities for everyone in Jordan.”