Jordan goes festive on 'Census Monday'

Jordan goes festive on 'Census Monday'
There was much fanfare in Jordan as the kingdom conducted a national census of a population that has grown because of regional wars and influx of refugees.
2 min read
01 Dec, 2015
The census takes place every decade and is a big deal

Some 21,000 field researchers began visiting homes Monday, for the first time using electronic tablets for data entry, as part of a national population census lasting 10 days.

Official results will be released in February.

The Jordanian government spared no means to advertise the census, assigning great importance to it and even labelling it a "patriotic and religious duty" to cooperate with its researchers, in newspaper ads paid for by the state.

No means were spared in the government's drive, including broadcasting catchy songs enumerating the benefits of the census.

On Sunday, the government had announced Monday as a public holiday for schools, businesses as well as government departments, as it marked the first day of the 2015 population census.

Many residents of Jordan thought this was too short a notice, however, some arguing it was unnecessary, and asked whether the losses to businesses were justified. 

Others were happy with a day off.

The decision had been taken upon recommendation by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury to "enable citizens and residents in the Kingdom to participate in the census."

Jordanians, particularly women married to non-Jordanians, used the occasion to remind people on social media that children of foreign male spouses do not receive Jordanian citizenship, and are classed as foreigners in the census, despite being born and raised in Jordan all their lives.

Aid and stability

The last census was carried out in 2004, putting the total number of the Kingdom's population at 5.1 million.

According to the Interior Ministry, Jordan's population is estimated to have reached around 8 million by 2015, but other unofficial figures indicate that the population of Jordan stands at nearly 9 million, including 2.5 million non-Jordanians.

"The population tally is proof that Jordan is secure and stable and a true role model of law enforcement and achievements despite the lack of resources," Petra quoted Department of Statistics Spokesperson Husni Daaja as saying on Sunday.

But perhaps one of the most important figures that will come out of the census will be the number of Syrian refugees, which will help determine how much foreign aid Jordan can request.