75% of Jordan’s population lives in Amman, Zarqa, Irbid

Foreigners account for 31% of Kingdom

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AMMAN— In 1921 the Kingdom’s population was 225,000. By 1963 Jordan counted a million inhabitants and 5 million by 2004, according to a census conducted that year. Some 9.5 million people were estimated to be living in the country in 2015, according to the secretary-general of the Higher Population Council (HPC), the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.اضافة اعلان

Jordan’s current population has been influenced by successive waves of refugees to the country and the increasing number of foreign workers, according to HPC Secretary-General Issa Masarwa.

According to Masarwa, 31 percent of the population, or about 3.5 million people in the country are non-Jordanian.

Jordan’s population is naturally increasing, he added, highlighting that the birth rate among refugees is higher than that of Jordanians.

There are several demographic challenges, the official said, foremost of which is the uneven distribution of the population. About 8 percent of the population lives in the southern half of the country, while 92 percent of the population is spread in the northwest of the Kingdom. This puts pressure on urban centers and is harmful to agricultural and rural lands, as well as to the environment, including nature reserves.

It also poses a challenge to food security, and an additional burden on infrastructure and public services.

According to Masarwa, 75 percent of the Kingdom’s population is distributed among three governorates: the capital Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa, while the rest of the population is distributed among nine other governorates.

He said that Mafraq Governorate ranked fourth in 2021 in terms of population size, which is projected to reach or exceed the total population of the four southern governorates.

Masarwa also said that the Jordanian society is young, but not as young as it is believed. This means a high dependency ratio for children under the age of 15, who constitute 34 percent of the population, or 3.8 million people, while the total number of those under the age of 18 is 4.5 million, or 40 percent, which, according to Masarwa, constitutes an additional driving force for population growth.

The relatively young population means that the number of women of childbearing age will continue to increase, as will the number of newborns, he said.

As a consequence, the number of families, job seekers, and unemployed will continue to rise, as will the demand for housing — which will come at the expense of agricultural land. The HPC official said that legislation should be passed to protect against additional urbanization.

Of those unemployed, 76 percent are men, Masarwa said, adding that there are abundant job opportunities available in the labor market. Sixty percent of job seeking men do not have a secondary education.

By contrast, 26 percent of those unemployed are women, which reflects the low participation rate of women in the labor market, he said.

Of the Kingdom’s 55,500 marriages every year on average, those that involve girls under 18 years old account for 15 percent, Masarwa said. That percentage rises in governorates where refugees are more prevalent, such as in Mafraq and Jerash.

According to Masarwa, the birthrate has the main influence on population size, age structure, and distribution; in 1963, the rate was about 45 births per 1,000 people, or 45,000 births per year, but today it has decreased to 21 births per 1,000 people, as indicated by the size of the population of 11.3 million.

He added that the number of births for the current year is expected to exceed 220,000.

The governorates of Mafraq, Jerash, Ajloun, Tafileh, Maan, Irbid, and Madaba have higher-than-average birthrates, he said. In addition, lower educated an lower income families have more children on average, as do non-Jordanian families.

About 2.5 million births were registered at the Civil Status and Passports Department between 2010 and 2021, averaging 1 million births every five years. Foreigners account for 13 percent of that number, of which births among Syrians constitute two thirds.

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