Jordan is one of the Arab world's poorest countries, with particularly high unemployment rates, and in recent years, skyrocketing inflation. The economic hardship can be seen not only in the brain drain from the Hashemite Kingdom, but also in significant social changes in a traditional society like that of Jordan.
An Islamic charity association recently published a comprehensive study showing a rise in the average age of marriage in Jordan over the past three decades, as well as an increase in bachelorhood. Conservative circles in the country say this is a "dangerous" trend.
The small Jordanian market was not blessed with many natural resources, and it mainly relies on aid and transfers from abroad. Jordanian economy is influenced by regional geopolitical events as well. For example, the Jordanian market flourished during the sanctions imposed on Iraq at the time of Saddam Hussein's reign, as it was a central axis for the transfer of goods to Iraq.
The raging prices and the lack of employment opportunities make it harder for young Jordanians to settle down. According to numbers published in Jordan, at the end of 2007, 94% of men between ages 20 and 24 were single. In the 25-29 age group the rate of bachelors stood at 65%. As for women, 67% of those in the 20-24 age group were unmarried.
The Jordanian market traditionally suffers from high unemployment rates. While official data show a 14% unemployment rate in the country, unofficial estimates point to a 25% rate of unemployment.
In addition, recent years have seen rising inflation in the country. In 2008, inflation in Jordan stood at 15.5%. The government's deficit stood at $1.4 billion, and the meager average monthly wage of some $225 quickly evaporates as living expenses continue to rise.
A recent study carried out in Jordan showed that an employee would have to work for eight years to be able to finance all the basic expenses that come with marriage, including the wedding ceremony, housing, furniture, jewelry etc.
This makes it difficult for the average Jordanian to make it to the wedding. This gives way for the non-governmental Islamic organizations, which fund many marriage ceremonies and provide aid to young couples at the start of their way.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd