This Blog written by Aalaa Halaka
Maia Sieverding is assistant professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the American University of Beirut. At the ERF conference on The Impacts of the Syrian Refugees Influx on the Jordanian Economy she presented a paper on Marriage and fertility patterns among Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan, which was based on analysis of the the Jordan Labor Market Panel Survey (JLMPS) 2016 data.
According to Dr. Sieverding, one key finding is that following a long period of stall in fertility among the Jordanian population, a further decline in fertility rates has been observed in Jordan both among Jordanians, as well as on the level of the country as a whole. After cross-checking these results with supplementary data sources, Dr. Sieverding argues that this finding places Jordan among the first Middle Eastern countries in which a fertility stall is followed by a resume to decline.
On the other hand, the paper examines fertility rates among Syrian refugees -a topic that has been at the forefront of discussion and media for some time, though evidence of which has been lacking by way of representative data. The results presented by Dr. Sieverding interestingly highlighted the fact that the characteristics of Syrian refugees in Jordan differ significantly from the population of Syria as a whole before the war. So whereas Syria before the war actually had lower fertility rates than Jordan as a country, the refugee population in Syria had higher fertility rates.
Though the data shows a decrease in fertility rates among Syrian refugees since their arrival in Jordan -which is common among conflict-affected populations, they are found to have remained higher still than those of the Jordanian the population. Dr. Sieverding thus concludes that the best explanation of this phenomenon is that it is a question of population needs, and is acutely relevant to the understanding of the background and context from which refugees come.
The Policy Conference on Employment, Education and Housing in Jordan: The Impacts Of The Syrian Refugee Influx is held in Amman, Jordan, on 13 May 2018. This event aims to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on various aspects of life for Jordanians, including their labor market outcomes, their access to education services and housing, and their demographic behavior in terms of marriage and fertility. Visit the conference website to find out more about the events and access policy briefs, working papers, videos and blogs.