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31% of refugees in Palestine live below poverty line

June 20, 2013 10:48 A.M. (Updated: June 21, 2013 2:39 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian refugee population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is characterized by poverty, statistics issued Thursday revealed.

Some 31 percent of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip live below the poverty line, according to statistics issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

This is reinforced by a young population of which 41 percent are under the age of 15, compared with 39.7 percent of the non-refugee population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, 27.9 percent of over 15-year-olds are unemployed, compared with 19.8 percent of non-refugees.

However, the illiteracy rate among Palestinian refugees is lower than non-refugees, with a rate of 3.7 percent of those aged 15 and above, compared to 4.3 percent of non-refugees.

While 86 percent of refugees owned their own housing units, only 15.9 percent owned private cars, 10 percent less than non-refugees.

The statistics were released to mark International Refugee Day and show that as of 1 January 2013, there were 5.3 million UNRWA-registered Palestine refugees.

Of the total number 40 percent are in Jordan, 24 percent in Gaza Strip, 17 percent in the West Bank, 10 percent in Syria and 9 percent in Lebanon.

According UNRWA's website, when the Agency started working in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees.
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