lunes, 7 de marzo de 2016

Jordan’s enormous refugee burden

Jordan’s enormous refugee burden

Welcome to Demography Is Destiny. We launched this to counter two media memes: that humans are a cancer which is destroying our planet and that world population is spiralling to unsustainable levels. The real story is that intelligent and inventive humans will rise to the challenge of climate change and that our real problem is the coming demographic winter. The editors of Demography is Destiny are Marcus and Shannon Roberts, who live in Auckland, New Zealand. Send them your comments and suggestions.  - See more at:


Jordan’s enormous refugee burden
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I thought that the refugee situation in Lebanon was bad enough. Towards the beginning of this year I reported the huge population pressures that the Syrian meltdown has placed upon the small Mediterranean country. By last year the UN was reporting that around a quarter of all people living in Lebanon (a nation the two-thirds the size of Connecticut) were refugees.

However, Lebanon is certainly not the only country in the war-torn region to suffer from a swollen population due to refugees. In fact, Jordan actually has more refugees as a proportion of its population than Lebanon. Around a third (2.9 million) of the country's population (9.5 million) is estimated by the Department of Statistics Census to be made up of refugees. Of those 2.5 million refugees nearly half (1.26 million) are from Syria while the rest are made up of Egyptians (636,000), Palestinians (634,000), Iraqis (131,000), Yemenis (31,000) and Libyans (23,000).

Thanks in part to the influx of millions of displaced persons from conflict zones Jordan's population has skyrocketed in the past decade. In 2004 there were 5.1 million people in the Kingdom. In 2015 the population had grown by nearly 87 per cent to 9.5 million people! Yes, that's right, in ten years, the country has doubled in size.

The majority of this population growth is due to non-Jordanians. The country's population growth as a whole per year was about 5.3 per cent, but for non-Jordanian's in the country it stood at 18 percent per year (!) and for Jordanians only 3.1 percent per year.

One can only imagine the strain that such exponential population growth has placed upon the country's infrastructure. But even more awe-inspiring is that one-third of all the people living in Jordan are refugees. One-third. Let us hope that the ceasefire deal in Syria holds so that some of these poor people can move back home.
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It's good to put immigration problems in perspective. Below Marcus Roberts reports that Jordan's population has nearly doubled in size in the past 10 years because of immigration. About 2.9 million of the 9.5 million people in the kingdom are refugees. Social change because of migration is a problem everywhere, but spare a thought for countries like Jordan and Lebanon where the influx of strangers is putting a gigantic strain on the economy and political life. 

Michael Cook 

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