Amman is a capital in which the foreigner neither marvels at the numbers of homeless on the sidewalks nor remarks on the number of flashy Mercedes Benzes on the roads. Jordan is simply not a rich country like Saudi Arabia, and those families that do possess fortunes tend to be discreet about it. Of course, there are exclusive neighborhoods in Amman but, on the whole, wealth is not flashed around. Poverty, on the other hand, does exist in Jordan, especially in cities.
Approximately 15 percent of the Jordanian population of 4,998,564 live below the poverty line and up to two-thirds of these poor people are concentrated in urban areas. According to the World Bank, 17 percent of Jordanian children are malnourished, the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is high at 31, and 11 percent of the population does not have access to safe drinking water. In addressing these issues, the Jordanian government in 1997 set up a poverty reduction initiative called the Social Productivity Program. Not only did this ambitious scheme aim to reduce poverty and educate the poor but it also targets members of underprivileged groups who are typically more vulnerable to poverty such
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Jordan|
|Survey year: 1997|
|Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.|
|SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].|
as female-headed households, widows, divorced women, and mothers of disabled children. The fund has received money from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program and has been very successful in reducing the percentage of those below the poverty line from 30 percent in 1998 to 15 percent in 2001.