Housing, education and health occupy the top economic priorities among Jordanian households
According to Jordan’s second periodic report on the status of the Jordanian family issued in 2018, rent or homeownership costs, education and health were found to be top priority living issues concerning Jordanian families.
Economic burdens of owning or renting a house were considered to be major issues as opposed to other medium burdens like education, health services, electricity, water, heating, transportation, clothes and food, the report suggested. It also indicated that economic priorities of the Jordanian family were mainly focused on price increases, job opportunities and wages.
These findings came up during a ceremony attended by NCFA Secretary-General Mohammad Miqdady, UNHCR Representative in Jordan Stefano Severe, members of NCFA Board of Trustees and representatives from governmental institutions and other relevant parties to celebrate the launch of Jordan’s second period report on the status of the Jordanian family as well as the status of the refugee family report.
During the launch of the two reports, Miqdady noted that monitoring and analyzing the status of the Jordanian and refugee families in terms of their demographic, economic, health, educational, cultural and marital characteristics, family cohesion and their participation in public life will contribute to the creation of an integrated database on the status of the family and provide a set of basic indicators to study a wide range of family issues.
According to Miqdady, several household priorities pertaining to education, health, inability to own houses and high rents have appeared in all reports and in some reports have reflected worsened conditions. Moreover, the report indicated that 79% of families depend on their jobs as their source of income and that there is a lack of public parks devoted to families and children. In this regard, Miqdady suggested that these report findings should inform finance, planning and executive institutions when developing family and society related programs or projects.
On his part, UNHCR Representative in Jordan Stefano Severe stated that the Refugee Family Status Report aims to understand the nature of refugee-related services, needs, issues and priorities in Jordan and provide a database for future government reports.
“We hope that the Status of the Jordanian Family Report will become a long-term instrument for national policy and strategy making”, added Severe, emphasizing that “the UNHCR will continue to work side by side with the government of Jordan in the area of social protection to ensure that no family is left behind regardless of its nationality”.
Head of NCFA’s Research and Studies Unit, Ghada Al-Qady briefed attendants on the methodologies adopted during the preparation of the two reports as well as their key findings and recommendations. With regard to the second periodic report on the status of the Jordanian family, the methodology adopted in that report relied on a field survey of a sample of 2300 Jordanian families representing various Jordanian governorates whereas the refugee status report depended on a field survey of 805 refugee family registered at the UNHCR in Jordan from the various Jordanian governorates and the Zaatari and Azraq Camps, Al-Qady indicated.
Concerning the demographic characteristics included in the Jordanian family status report, family patterns showed a substantial increase in the number of nucleus families and a decrease in extended families. When comparing findings of the current report with figures from the Household Expenditure and Income Survey published by the Department of Statistics in 2003, figures show that 98% of the families investigated during this current report were nucleus families as opposed to 90% as shown in the 2003 Survey. On the other hand, the report showed 2% extended families against 10% in the 2003 Survey.
As for housing characteristics, A-Qady added, the report illustrated that 65 families prefer to have a national housing program. It also highlighted the need to conduct in-depth research studies that reflect the situation of the housing sector and the reasons behind the unjustified increase in land prices. In this regard, figures showed that 62% of families owned their own houses, 35% lived in rental houses and the remaining 3% lived with relatives while 0.1% received living accommodation in exchange for work.
In terms of economic characteristics, household expenses in particular, the report showed that both spouses co-manage the expenses in 54% of families surveyed, while the husband is responsible for the management of expenses in 31% of the households. On another level, findings revealed that 60% of the families prefer to work in the public sector and that there are positive family attitudes towards vocational professions; yet, the percentage of vocational education students constitutes only 2% of the total number of students surveyed.
On health characteristics, findings showed that a third of the Jordanian families (36%) do not have health insurance, which used to stand at 31% in the previous report. Families with a public health insurance constituted 28% and 23%with military insurance whereas 8% had a private medical insurance.
As for educational characteristics, the current survey indicated that 86% of school aged children are enrolled in basic and secondary schools while 14% are not. As the report suggests, the reason behind public school enrollment is the high cost of private schools. Enrollment rates in public, private and UNRWA schools reached 68%, 26% and 6% respectively.
On the pillar of family relations, report findings showed that families tend to prefer a younger age for their daughters’ marriage; the preferred age currently stands at 22 years old as opposed to 26 in the previous survey, reflecting a reduction of four years. As for males, the age stands unchanged at 27 years old.
With respect to participation in public life, it was revealed that the internet and social media have become a part of families’ everyday life; findings indicate that 67% of families believe that the internet and social media have become partners in children upbringing. As it turned out, mothers constitute the largest share of web users at a percentage of 43%, which demonstrates a change in family behavior as mothers were the least frequent users of the web in the previous survey. In this respect, it was shown that entertainment was the main reason for social media use in the current report and work was the least common reason.
As for families’ sense of happiness, 58% of the sample indicated that they feel happy at the moment, 45% feel they are close to being perfect families and 54% are completely satisfied with their lives.
On the other hand, the refugee family report has surveyed 805 families including 730 Syrians, 57 Iraqis, 7 Yeminis, 6 Sudanese and 5 Somalian families. The survey showed that the majority of the sample (92%) (741 families) indicated that the asylum request was for safety reasons while 6% said that the reason was political; only 9 families said that it was for economic reasons.
According to UNHCR statistics for 2017, 20% of refugees registered at the organization in Jordan live in official camps while 80% live in urban areas outside the camps.
Findings showed that 57% of refugee families benefited from health facilities affiliated with the government, 17% used facilities affiliated with organizations and that 16% specifically benefited from facilities associated with international organizations. The refugee community in Jordan has a low educational attainment; results showed that 56% of family members surveyed were between the ages of 16 and over. It also showed that 3.5% had a bachelor’s degree and 27.5% had secondary education while 13.5% were illiterate. Moreover, 71% of Syrian children aged 6-18 years were enrolled in schools as opposed to 64% of Iraqi children. All Somali and Sudanese children from the same age group were enrolled as opposed to 80% of Yemenis families were enrolled.
Findings also revealed that 87% of refugee families had an income of less than 366 JOD and 5.3% between 367-400 JODs while only one family had an income over 1500 JOD. These figures reflect family income and not individual income.
According to the report, the most common source of income was in the form of food coupons received from international and national organizations in 82% of the families surveyed, while 18% did not receive any. Moreover, 81% of families received salaries and wages while 19% received none. In addition, 63% received financial aid from international and national organizations while 37% did not receive any