Strong family ties often serve as social protection networks in Jordan, which lack a comprehensive social security system. However, state employers and private companies with more than five employees must allocate a small portion of the employees’ salaries to certain sickness and unemployment benefits. A national aid fund is also available for particularly vulnerable groups. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in 2014, approximately 12 percent of the population lived in poverty.
In regional comparison, Jordan has good health care. There is a state healthcare system with over a thousand public hospitals and health centers and a number of private hospitals. At state hospitals, care is free of charge. In the capital Amman there is world-class care, but it is difficult to get doctors to work in the countryside.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Jordan, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Women are poorly represented in politics and the labor market. In 2001, however, women got the right to divorce and the minimum age for marriage was raised to 18 years. Violence against women in the home seems relatively common, but is rarely reported to the police. Honor killings are also still a problem: 10-20 women a year are murdered “to preserve family honor”, but the number of blacks is high. In order to rectify the phenomenon, in 2009 a special court was established for honor-related crimes and the minimum penalty for honor killings was increased to ten years.
Tens of thousands of foreign women, mainly from Asia, work as maids in Jordan. According to Amnesty International, many are subjected to abuse and sexual abuse.
Today’s Jordanian society is a mixture of old and new, traditional and modern, Palestinian and Bedouin. Roughly speaking, the population can be divided into Transjordanians (“East Bankers”), who lived east of the Jordan River when the State of Israel was formed in 1948 and Palestinians, who lived west of the Jordan River and came to Jordan mainly in three major refugee waves since 1948. A benevolent attitude to refugees has made the Palestinians, who also helped to develop the country, today make up a majority of the population. They usually live in cities, transjordanians in the countryside. As a separate group you could count the Bedouins, who have inhabited desert areas since ancient times.
Bedouins have traditionally been high in the social ranking, especially if they have owned large camel herds. The Bedouins, who used to be loyal to the regime, also form the backbone of the army and the clan leaders have often received high political positions; The constituency (see Political system) has also benefited the rural population in the elections that have taken place. However, the old-fashioned Bedouin, who constantly move in the desert with their animals, are becoming increasingly rare. Many Bedouin families are now more or less resident and work, for example, instead in the tourism industry (desert tourism).
The Palestinians, on the other hand, have found it more difficult to reach high positions in politics and defense, according to themselves, among other things because their loyalty is questioned when they have not always supported the regime’s west-friendly policy or Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel. Instead, they have been successful in business, finance, education, etc. Today, one can also see changes in the social hierarchy; as well as camels can now also expensive cars, a large floor in Amman’s better neighborhoods or a fine education give high status.
A relatively new well-to-do community consists of the many Jordanians, who periodically and with relatively high wages worked in oil-producing countries around the Persian Gulf, and their families. Among the poorest in the community, along with some Palestinian and Iraqi / Syrian refugee groups as well as foreign guest workers, on the other hand are the nomadic Bedouins who lack permanent housing and own few animals; they have little opportunity to share what modern society offers.
Family and community life
In Jordan, the old tradition-bound clan community shines through in the view of the family: it plays an extremely important role and is set up for one’s family (which, of course, was necessary in a country where proper social protection networks are lacking). The family is also more important than the individual. In the past, the generations lived together; when a woman got married, she moved to the man’s family. Many still live in this way, but especially in the cities it becomes more common for young couples to live on their own.
Jordanian women marry early and give birth to many children, but that is slowly changing as women choose to study first and then enter the labor market. About a quarter of women are expected to work outside the home, especially in school and care (marrying and raising a family, however, are considered important and Jordanians are generally very fond of children). Contraceptives are allowed.
However, gender roles are conservative; even though the woman works outside the home, she is expected to take care of home and children. If the family lives with the family, there is often some older woman who can help care for the children and care for the household. If you live on your own, it is common to get domestic help, often from Asia, Egypt etc.
Although much has improved for the Jordanian woman, her position is still weak. Few question the man’s role as the head of the family. Although women can differ, if they pay back the dowry to the man’s family, the surroundings often look down on a divorced woman. According to Muslim family law, a woman is only entitled to a minor part of an inheritance, since she is not regarded as a family provider. In times of high unemployment, there has also been a demand for women to stop working outside the home. And despite several attempts to change the law, including with the support of the royal family, so-called honor-related crimes still provide relatively low penalties.
Young people, especially in the cities, look and behave like the West: they take a “latte” at the cafes, talk on their mobiles and dress in the latest fashion. However, some girls wear shawls and usually the sex goes out separately: girls with their girlfriends and boys with their friends. Notices of affection around town are rarely seen (although you can see men holding hands) and sex before marriage is not common.
Homosexuality is not prohibited by law, but there is a negative view of homosexuals in the conservative Jordanian society.
Talking about drug abuse in the past has been the closest taboo, but a major campaign against drugs has been ongoing in 2019, the first of its kind. One feature of the campaign, which is aimed at young adults, is a radio show at the best broadcast time. In 2018, around 20,000 people were arrested and the number of drug seizures increased strongly. Smugglers risk up to 20 years in prison, while abusers can avoid punishment with the support of a law from 2016 if they accept treatment. According to authorities, hashish is the most common intoxicant.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 14 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 98.6 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 97.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.3 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 224 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 15 percent (2018)