IRIN, the United Nations news agency, ran a feature disclosing that Jordanian citizens currently living in 40 of the kingdom’s municipalities are living below the poverty line. Yes, that’s 40 out of 110 municipalities out there! And you wonder why Jordanians are teased about being grim! I mean really, is this not just a killer!
Jordanians in 40 out of 101 of the country’s municipalities live below the poverty line despite an overall decline in national poverty levels over the past few years, according to a senior government official. Twenty of these municipalities, meanwhile, are considered extremely poor.
"There are still 40 municipalities in Jordan where people live below the poverty line, and 20 of them registered the highest rate of poverty," said Ministry of Social Development Secretary-General Mahmoud Alaymat at a recent lecture at the Jordanian University of Science and Technology. The 20 "very poor" municipalities include those in the governorates of Mafraq and Zarqa, north-east of Amman, some districts within the capital and certain municipalities along the Jordan Valley, explained Alaymat.
But … in all of this there is a little sprinkling of relatively good news:
In Jordan, the poverty line is equated with a yearly income of US$553 per capita. According to official data, the percentage of the population living at or under this figure is 14 percent, down from 21.3 percent in 1997.
The income disparities in Jordan are being increased between the wealthy minority in west amman and some places in Irbid, Karak and Balqa but most of the people living in the rural areas are fighting for survival. The IRIN report gives a more realistic figure than the official 14% poverty rate always promoted by the governemnt that does not reflect geographical disparities.
Thats sad, but not new news to me. The thing though that bothers me is hiding those facts under the rug to portray a nicer picture. What good does this hiding bring ?