Youth in Jordan


… A very young population…

Jordan’s population is currently about 6.1 million, with a male/female ratio of 102:100. More than 70% of the population is under 30 years of age. Those between the ages of 15 and 24 comprise 22% of the population; 48% of them are women.

… Facing the unemployment challenge…

The unemployment rate among young people has reached high levels – up to 27% in 2008 and 2009. Unemployment among young people is more than twice the national unemployment rate. This leaves youth vulnerable to poverty, or failing to provide for their families.

Unemployment remained high at 13.1% in 2011 according to official figures, hence hovering around the same rates irrespective of the registered growth rates of the GDP. Youth, including the educated, are experiencing high unemployment rates, with those aged 20-29 making up nearly 61% of the total unemployed. In absolute numbers this is estimated at 105,000 unemployed youth in this age group, of which 43% are males and 63% are females.

… This is particularly affecting young females…

Although females outmatch males in terms of academic qualifications, the data is indicating that unemployment among women is twice as high as the national average unemployment rate (21.7% for women versus 10.4% for men in 2010). It is worth mentioning that more than 78% of unemployed females are educated (holding an intermediate college diploma or higher) vis-à-vis only 23% of unemployed males who hold the same university certificates.

Unemployment rates for women are particularly high. Their participation in the labour market is much lower than that of men. Urban unemployment rates were 10.1% for men and 23.3% for women in 2009, and have been relatively constant during the last three years. In rural areas, female unemployment rates reached 28.1% compared to 23.3% in urban areas. The overall unemployment rate in rural areas was estimated at 14.8% in 2009 compared to 12.5% in urban areas.

Poverty and unemployment in the three target Governorates

  • Madaba Governorate (Middle)
  • Population: 152 900 inhabitants
    Poverty rate: 14.9%
    Unemployment rate: 21.0%
  • Mafraq Governorate (North East)
  • Population: 287 300 inhabitants
    Poverty rate: 31.9%
    Unemployment rate: 13.9%
  • Ma’an Governorate (South)
  • Population: 116 200 inhabitants
    Poverty rate: 24.2%
    Unemployment rate: 19.0%