UNHCR survey reveals positive Jordanian attitude towards refugees

Abeer Khreisha, a Jordanian national, hugs the daughter of Syrian refugee, Haifa Al Dallal, in Madaba, Jordan.

New public opinion poll released today by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in partnership with NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, demonstrates that 92 percent of Jordanians say that they are sympathetic towards refugees. 

The survey, which covered representative samples comprising of 3,229 Jordanians from Amman (1,754), Irbid (916), Karak (299), and Mafraq (260), is the third wave of a bi-annual survey conducted by NAMA SIS on behalf of UNHCR examining the perception of refugees among the Jordanian public. 

Key findings also highlight that 76 percent of Jordanians believe that the Government’s approach towards refugees has been positive, echoing the results of surveys conducted in June 2021 and December 2020. 

“Jordanians remain steadfast in their commitment to helping refugees,” said the UNHCR representative in Jordan Dominik Bartsch. “But as refugees become increasingly intertwined in Jordanian society, we can no longer just consider their needs in isolation,” he concluded. 

Indications of growing fatigue among the Jordanian host community are also emerging in the survey. Compared to previous rounds of the survey, an increase among those who believe that the Jordanian Government has done more than it needs to help refugees was observed. More people also agreed with the statement that Jordan should focus on helping Jordanians, not refugees. 

When looking at the effect of refugees on the Jordanian economy, more than three quarters of respondents indicated that jobs, wages and access to services have been negatively affected by refugees. However, most Jordanians said that the pandemic had not changed their perception of refugees, although most believed that they had been more adversely affected in comparison to their refugee neighbors.

“Over the past 3 waves of this survey, we have seen a changing trend in Jordanian public opinion towards refugees that is associated with the worsening economic conditions of Jordanians. As this study shows, of the 59% of Jordanians who believe refugees affected Jordan’s economy, 78.4% of them reported that refugees affected their economic situation negatively. Moreover, 68% of Jordanians believe that refugees receive more support and 62% view that too much money is being spent on refugees. While the pandemic exacerbated Jordan’s economic woes, 91% of Jordanians say that they have been affected negatively and 81% of Jordanians reported that they suffered more than refugees. This empirical evidence demonstrates that declining positivity towards refugees is linked to the worsening economic conditions of Jordanians.” said His Excellency Dr. Fares Braizat, the Chairperson of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions.

At an event launching the survey on 26 January 2022, representatives of the international community in Jordan reemphasized their support to bolster efforts to support refugees and Jordanians alike and work towards the greater inclusion of refugees in national systems.

Read the survey results