It may not come as a surprise to many expats in the city to know that the cost of living in Jordan ranked globally in the top 50. Prices are abnormally high for imported products, particularly for alcohol and other foreign made groceries.
According to the 2016 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, the cost of living in Jordan ranks right up with major European countries; it is number 50 out of 209 countries surveyed in total. In another report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the cost of living in Amman ranked number one out of the Arab nations. For what is considered to be a developing country, these numbers may come as a surprise to the average American. However, these numbers are largely due to the gap in average salary versus average cost of products.
Compared to the staggering cost of living ranking, Jordan ranks number 65 in the world when it comes to average monthly salary, according to an article in The Jordan Times. The average monthly salary is around $637. This is problematic for many considering that the average cost of rent is above $500, and utilities for two people averages $129.
For tourists visiting the country, it is important to note that although some products may look as though they are the same price, there is the currency exchange to take into account. In fact, the dinar is currently equivalent to $1.41. This means a meal that is 10 Jordanian dinars will really cost around $14.
However, there are ways to keep costs down, as noted in a site for expats. Outside of rent, it is usually cheaper to buy local products. When buying fresh fruit and vegetables, it is advised to buy products that are in season. This way, the products will not be imported and therefore more expensive.
As of 2017, the unemployment rate in Jordan has climbed to just under 20 percent. This means that even more people are without the means to meet the high cost of living in Jordan. It will be interesting to monitor Jordan in the years to come to see how citizens and government respond to this gap in salary, employment and cost of living.
– Sydney Roeder