___________In Camps___ Not in Camps_____ Total
In Jordan, Palestinian refugees are granted citizenship. It means that those refugee families living in camps are there by choice. But the living standards and the opportunities for refugees ‘not in camps’ are the same as the other Jordanian population.
According to Jordan Economy Profile 2012 (Index Mundi): ‘Whether for total income or wage income, refugees living outside the camps generally fare better than those living in the camps’. Statistics and reports confirm that the other Jordanian population needs as much assistance as Palestinian refugees. In a separate statement of the MUNDI report, ‘Amman likely will continue to depend heavily on foreign assistance to finance the deficit in 2012’. However, in spite of the Jordanian population’s needs, the same report states: ‘In addition to UNRWA, more international organizations and local NGOs provide assistance in the occupied territories than in the neighbouring regions’.
On the same note, the FATO report 237 summary concludes:
The results of the Jordan Living Conditions Survey show that the population of Palestinians who have come to Jordan as refugees or are displaced due to the Arab-Israeli wars seems to be divided into two very different groups: The 13 percent living in the UNRWA refugee camps, and the remaining 87 percent who have settled elsewhere in Jordan.
While the refugees and the displaced who are settled outside the camps live in conditions not very different from those of other households in Jordan, the camp dwellers are worse off with regard to almost all aspects of what are considered relevant indicators of a good life. They have poorer housing conditions, more physical and mental health problems, higher unemployment levels, and lower income.
Obviously, living in official refugee camps gives them the advantage of getting financial help from the UN, which citizens of the country do not have. Palestinian refugees in Syria before the civil war had almost the same civil rights as Syrian citizens, and had the same opportunities.
What are the causes of Palestinian refugee registrants’ poverty, if not discrimination and the lack of opportunities? If similarity of living standard is any indicator, there are common causes for this. One of them, unmistakably, is big families. The population of the Middle East grows with a speed which cannot be sustained by any economy, even the economy of the most developed countries. Not surprisingly, the poorest households are those with 5 to 8 children. Even with the best opportunities, it is impossible to provide proper care, education and other services for such large families. Refugees or not, they will always live in poverty and won't be able to function without assistance. As a matter of fact, the same MUNDI report confirms this indirectly, while considering the low rate labour force participation: ‘First, almost one third of the population is below the age of 16, which limits the pool of those who could be actively involved in the labour force’.