By Khetam Malkawi

AMMAN – The population growth rate in the Kingdom stood at 2.2 per cent last year, dropping by 4 per cent since 1994, a national report said, underlining “improvement” in the related social aspects.

The State of Jordan’s Population Report 2010 indicated that the Kingdom’s population almost doubled from 2.1 million people in 1979 to 4.2 million in 1994 and continued to grow to 6.1 million people in 2010.

The report, which was launched Monday, showed that the development in the social aspects achieved in the Kingdom brought about noticeable improvement in demographic indicators.

Fertility rates declined from 5.6 live births per woman of reproductive age (15-49 years) in 1990 to 28 per thousand in 2009 and the use of family planning methods increased from 40.2 per cent in 1990 to 59.3 per cent in 2009.

Collectively, these developments have led to a decline in the average family size from 6.9 persons in 1994 to 5.4 members in 2004 and to 5.1 members in 2009. Moreover, migration rates fell from 0.5 per cent in the 1980s to about 0.1 per cent in 2009.

The report also indicated that if the population growth rate remains at 2.2 per cent, the population of Jordan will double within the next 30 years to reach 13 million.

Poverty and unemployment

According to the document, poverty is considered one of the most important challenges facing Jordan, where the absolute poverty line (food and non-food poverty) at the national level reached JD680 per person per year in 2008. At the governorate level, the capital had the highest poverty line of JD703 per person per year.

Economic participation in the Jordanian labour market showed a small rise and increased from 39.4 per cent in 2000 to 40.1 per cent in 2009.

The unemployment rate showed slight fluctuation between the years 2000 and 2010, according to the report. It showed that unemployment dropped from 13.7 per cent in 2000 to 12.9 per cent in 2009, yielding a decline of 0.8 percentage points.

Future projections for the size of the labour force in the Kingdom will increase from 1.603 million people in 2009 to 2.915 million people in 2030.

Speaking at the report’s launch ceremony, HRH Princess Basma said: “The State of Jordan’s Population Report marked a poverty rate of around 13.3 per cent in 2008. Today, the impact of the prevailing economic conditions of the world has increased the complexity of what remains one of Jordan’s most important challenges.”

She noted that reducing poverty levels requires the concerted efforts of all sectors, public and private, in an institutionally streamlined manner in order to provide the most effective impact.

“This population surge requires a better investment in unleashing the full potential of women who constitute half of the world’s population; this is where we can best target eliminating poverty and slowing population growth in a more sustainable manner,” the Princess said.

However, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan noted that growth in population requires doubling job opportunities and houses before 2030.

He added that this growth will have an impact on other sectors including health, water and education, which requires modifying the related strategies accordingly.

‘7 Billion Actions’

The launch of the report coincided with the launch of the 7 Billion Actions campaign to mark the birth of the seven billionth baby.
The campaign, according to organisers, aims to engage people, spur commitment and spark actions related to the opportunities and challenges presented by a world of seven billion people, which, they explain, requires efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, unleashing the power of women and ensuring that every child is wanted and every childbirth is safe.


* UNFPA marked the Day of 5 Billion in 1987 and the Day of 6 Billion in 1999
* 1.2 billion people are living in poverty – 70 per cent are women and children
* Over 1 billion adults are illiterate – 66 per cent are women
* 27 million people are refugees – 80 per cent are women and children
* People under 25 make up 43 per cent of the world’s population, but the percentage reaches 60 per cent in the least developed countries.
* Nearly all of this population growth – 97 of every 100 people – is occurring in less developed countries
* Every day 1,000 women in the developing world die giving birth
* Average family size has halved since 1960 – is linked to advances in education, health and increased opportunities for women