According to the World Bank, around 13 percent of the population in Jordan live in poverty. This means 13 percent of the population spend less than $2.60 U.S. a day. However, nearly a third of the population in Jordan live in what is known as transient poverty, which means that they live in poverty for a quarter of the year. Considering that even the types of poverty in Jordan are varied, the causes must also be complex and varied, depending on the household and the area of residence. Outlined below are just a few of the causes of poverty in Jordan.
While Jordan has begun improving public education tremendously at the secondary level in past years, it still lags behind the prestige and high-priced private school system. Those in the higher-middle and upper classes are able to afford good education, while the middle and lower classes are not able to pay for such schooling. The result is an education gap between the middle and upper classes. Furthermore, while some families might be well off during the time of year that their children do not attend school, often times they slip into poverty in order to afford tuition once school begins again.
- Wage Gap
Another one of the causes of poverty in Jordan is the stagnant income. Many middle class families struggle with the difference between their salary and cost of living. While salaries have largely remained the same in recent years, cost of living is steadily rising – particularly in larger cities like Amman. This, along with the above factor of education, have forced some members of the middle class into what would be considered poverty. Another result of stagnant wages has been a decrease in spending of not only the lower class, but the middle class as well. In fact, 51 percent of Jordanian families spend as though they were living in poverty.
Strangely – or perhaps not – the season of Ramadan weighs considerably on Jordanian residents’ pocketbooks. During the month of Ramadan this year, Jordanian citizens collectively spent about $493 million U.S. on food alone. Considering the substantial increase in spending, some middle class citizens dip into poverty after the month of festivities associated with Ramadan.
The stagnation of income and shortcomings of the public education system reveal only some of the causes of poverty in Jordan. In order to combat a majority of these issues, creating jobs with reasonable salaries seems to be a solution offered by experts. In turn, King Abdullah II has introduced Jordan Vision 2025. Jordan Vision 2025 is a blueprint for social and economic development. The King hopes that the project will bring jobs along with it, which would likely help bring people out of poverty.
– Sydney Roeder