Official report: 4.8 million Palestinian refugees living in poverty and unemployment

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has issued a report stating that, scattered across dozens of camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip), the minimum number of Palestinian refugees registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) until mid-2010 had now reached approximately 4.8 million.

The report also stated that 43.4% of the total population of the Palestinian Territories are refugees; being a very young society, 41.3% of the population are also under the age of fifteen.

The report’s data explained that 29.7% of the occupied West Bank’s population are refugees, while the proportion in the Gaza Strip had reached about 67.3% indicating that 66% of the indigenous population of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 were displaced and expelled in that year.

The report, which was issued to coincide with World Refugee Day on Monday, June 20, also noted that, compared with the rural and urban areas, the refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip represented the poorest environments. This is due to the high rates of unemployment and large refugee family sizes compared to other rural and urban families.

It also pointed out that refugee camps in the Gaza Strip suffered under more acute conditions than those experienced in the West Bank; the percentage of those living in poverty in Gaza is 38% compared to 18.3% in the West Bank.

In spite of all this, according to official data, there has been a notable increase in educational attainment along with a decrease in the level of illiteracy among Palestinian; there was a 4.8% increase by the middle of last year for the over 15 age group among refugees and an increase of over 5.2% among the non-refugee population.

Middle East Monitor

20 June 2011

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