Aid agency CARE International releases “Eight Years into Exile: Challenges and coping strategies of urban Syrian refugees and non-Syrian refugees in Jordan and impact on vulnerable host communities”

 Emergency Response
 10th Sep 2018

CARE study: Majority of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan living with less assistance, more debts.

Amman – Syrian and Iraqi refugees living in Jordan are facing a decrease in humanitarian aid and an increase in debt, with women carrying the heaviest burden, eight years into the Syria crisis that has impacted neighboring countries, a new research conducted by CARE has revealed.

Research conducted in several areas of Jordan showed that a majority of Syrian and Iraqi respondents have noticed a decrease in aid over the last year that was due to the overall cuts in the humanitarian response and higher living costs. The two combined have pushed some families into spiraling debt. Nine in ten Syrian refugees reported having debt, while four in ten reported that their situation since arriving in Jordan had deteriorated.  Jordanians have four times the debt of Syrian refugees, though their monthly income is only 70 Jordanian Dinars ($100) higher.

"The CARE 2018 Urban Assessment found that some 70 percent of surveyed Syrian households gained income from work during the previous month, a noticeable rise from 2017 when income was gained equally from humanitarian assistance and work," says Salam Kanaan, CARE Country Director in Jordan.

While on average, Syrian refugees reported a monthly income of 279 USD during the past year -- earned primarily by adult men (59.8%) and women (13.7%) – their expenditure was 328 USD, spent mostly on rent. To close this gap, they reported cutting school costs by keeping children at home, sending children to work, and marrying young daughters. Iraqi refugees also reported much lower rates of formal employment than Syrian refugees.

"Some figures are shocking and show how deep the crisis is. For example, one in ten Syrian families reported that a boy or girl under the age of 18 in their family was married off, mainly in order to decrease the financial burden on the household. In comparison, 2.1% of Jordanians interviewed reported their children are married, and only 1.1% of Iraqi refugees," adds Kanaan.

When it comes to education, only 53.9% of Syrian children below the age of 18 are attending school, compared to 85% of Jordanian children and 80.1% of Iraqi children. Syrian refugees reported financial obstacles, including school fees and transportation costs, and verbal and physical harassment at school as reasons for not attending. In some instances, children had to leave school and work in order to support their families.

And while women, whether Syrian, Iraqi or Jordanian, have been increasingly in roles traditionally held by men, they also face more domestic violence. And though refugee women are asked to provide for their household through work, they are more likely to have limited access to healthcare, education and formal employment. Syrian and Iraqi women reported low levels of access to family planning, and lower levels of postnatal care, in comparison to Jordanian host community members. The report highlighted the increased psychological stress on refugees that continues to negatively impact all members of the households, especially children and the elderly.

As for the future, a high majority of Syrian refugees (84%) hope to return home one day but have no immediate plans to do so, while there is a sharp increase in the numbers of those looking to resettle in a third country. On the other hand, about one third of Iraqi refugees in Jordan said they hope to return home in the future.

 "Improving the situation for all communities living side by side in Jordan requires urgent, sustained, and concerted efforts from everyone: the government of Jordan, international donors, and aid organizations. Any sign of fatigue, as the crisis persists, will be felt greatly by thousands of men, women and children. There is a clear need for access to sustainable livelihoods, better linkages between emergency and development programming, and a departure from the nationality-based approach to programs mechanisms that respond to the neediest populations," said Kanaan.

Notes to editor:

The research data was collected in April 2018, through a mixed methodology tracking the needs and primary coping strategies of Syrian refugees, non-Syrian refugees, and Jordanian host communities. The research was based on 1,710 surveys (1,051 Syrian urban refugees and 388 Jordanians in Amman, Zarka; including Azraq town, Irbid and Mafraq, and 271 Iraqi refugees in Amman and Zarqa), 30 focus group discussions, and interviews with key stakeholders.

The research aims to assess primary needs of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and Jordanian citizens in the sectors of protection, gender and age, refugee durable solutions, sustainable livelihoods, and education. Building on annual assessments conducted since 2012, the report identifies trends in the challenges facing refugees, their priorities, coping mechanisms and relations with host communities.

About CARE
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries to reach 80 million people, including more than 11 million through emergency response and humanitarian aid. Learn more at  

CARE International established a presence in Jordan in 1948, in the wake of the Palestinian refugee crisis. Over seventy years later, it has served the needs of the local and refugee populations (Palestinians, Iraqis, Somalis, Sudanese, and Syrians). CARE currently runs the Urban Refugee Protection Program, the Sustainable Development Program, and the Azraq Camp Program, with a special emphasis on women. CARE in Jordan leads humanitarian protection, economic empowerment, and civic engagement interventions for women and girls from poor and vulnerable communities in the fight to overcome poverty, gender based violence, and social injustice.



Salam Kanaan (English, Arabic),

Eman Ismail, Deputy Country Director for Programs, CARE Jordan (English, Arabic),

For media inquiries:

Sara Rashdan,,  +962 79 711 7244

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