Definition of Youth

The national youth strategy 2005-2009 of Jordan defines youth as between 12-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • --
  • --

  • No data for marriageable age with parental consent. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

  • Upper House
  • 40

  • Source:  Inter-Parliamentary Union
    Upper house is wholly appointed with members of high-ranking or distinguished classes, as defined in the Constitution.

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
A draft law proposing to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12 was rejected in 2014. Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


The Children’s Rights Bill of 2008 defines a child as “any person below 18 years of age”. Source: UN Child Rights Periodic Report (2013)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.12% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.38% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 86.49%Male %
  • 89.37% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 34.10% Male (13-15) %
  • 19.40% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Jordan has a 2005 national youth strategy. It is about to be renewed. A short study is from 2009 available.

The vision of the national youth strategy 2005-2009 is of Jordanian young people who are,

aware of themselves and their abilities, loyal to their country and proactively take part in its progress and development, able to deal with the variables and developments of this age in a confident, aware and steadfast manner, within a secure and supporting environment.
The priorities identified are: 1) Participation; 2) Civil rights and citizenship; 3) Recreational activity and leisure time; 4) Culture and information; 5) Information technology and globalisation; 6) Education and training; 7) Employment; 8) Health; 9) Environment. The youth strategy expired in 2009 and it is unclear whether this has been renewed or replaced.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Higher Council for Youth (HCY), which has the status of a ministry, is responsible for youth affairs and the national youth strategy. According to the youth study (2009), the HCY replaced the previous Ministry of Youth in 2001 and is also responsible for regulating and managing youth clubs, organisations, youth centres, and programmes for “talented and disadvantaged youth.” The youth study notes that implementing the youth strategy across governmental departments has been challenging with no “long-term, comprehensive, joint action plan.”

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Jordan Youth Innovation Forum (JYIF) is the main national youth organisation and aims to “increase the youth active participation in the development process.” It focuses on national and international volunteering, leadership, cultural interaction, participation, and youth work. According to the youth study (2009), no youth federations exists, but the JYIF exists as a large network of NGOs with 40 organisational members, 300 individual members and over 84,000 followers on their official Facebook Page.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
JOD 8.5 million
USD 12.0 million
According to the 2012 budget, the planned budget for the Higher Council for Youth is JOD 8.5 million (USD 12.0 million). The World Bank does not calculate spending on education as a percentage of government expenditure or GDP for Jordan since 2000.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

The Studies On Youth Policies In The Mediterranean Partner Countries – Jordan (2009) offers a situational analysis for youth:
Jordanian society is one of the youngest in the world – people under 30 constitute 74% of the population and median age is 23,9. According to the Ministry of Education (Wizarat al-Tarbiyya wa al-Ta’leem – MoE), youth (15-24) constitutes 23% which makes almost 1,5 million in Jordan’s 6,2 million population.
Gross enrolment for primary education is 96%, for secondary education 88% and for higher education 39%. Most popular fields of study include: social sciences, business and law (25% of all students), arts and humanities, engineering and construction, education, health and welfare. There is no gender gap between males and females; in fact the proportion of female students is slightly higher at every level of education. Most students choose their field of study out of personal interest. In higher education, however, good career prospects are equally important […]
One of the most striking conditions that young people have to face is the lack of employment opportunities. As in many other Arab countries unemployment affects predominantly two social categories – new entrants on the labour market and women. Jordan has the fourth highest unemployment rate among youth among Middle Eastern and North African countries reaching 30%, while the unemployment rate among the adults is 12%. That means that around 60% of all unemployed are below 25 years of age. Lack of job prospects is reflected in the opinions of young unemployed – every fourth believes that there are no jobs, while a significant part of the unemployed does not find the right job. On the other hand many juveniles – mostly males – start working before they reach maturity. According to the UNICEF study every third young person started to work be- fore reaching 15 years of age (for males 15, for females 19). Many of them work on a temporary basis and do not receive any pay for their work […]
Especially vulnerable to limited employment opportunities are young women. Their unemployment rate is even higher – exceeding 43%. Every third young Jordanian aged between 15-25 is employed, whereas females constitute only 10% of the workforce. Most of the economically non- active males are studying. In the case of females a significant reason are family responsibilities […]
In 2002 the mean age at marriage was 29 for males and 27 for females, which reflects current socio-economic changes. Over 70% of all brides got married between the age of 18 and 27. Still, 12% of girls aged 14-17 were married as for 2002 […]
A positive sign might be the decrease in the proportion of adolescent marriages in all marriages – from 36% in 1997 to 30,9% in 2001 […]
Young Jordanians perceive themselves as healthy. According to the UNESCO study over 90% of respondents indicated that their health is either good or very good. Their most important health concern is respiratory tract diseases, some of respondents also indicated sight problems. Many adolescent Jordanians have insufficient knowledge on puberty and maturation process, as well as on reproductive health issues. On the other hand almost all young married women know modern contraceptives […]
Similarly to most other Arab countries HIV/AIDS does not pose a threat to the society, yet in December 2007 548 cases were reported – with majority being young people between 15 and 34. Every third HIV positive person is aged 20-29 and four in five are male […]
Two factors may particularly increase the risk among young people: low level of awareness and an increase in risky behaviours. According to the studies conducted in Jordan young people have insufficient and sometimes misguided knowledge on HIV/AIDS in regard to ways of becoming infected […]
Despite the fact that the age for joining a political party or for voting is relatively low, young people are less eager to take part in elections comparing to older people. According to a poll, 67% of Jordanians aged 18-29 declared that they would vote in the 2007 elections, comparing with 76% of people aged over 40; they were also slightly less confident on who they were going to vote for (59% comparing to 62%; Ipsos 2007, 32 and 38). Half of the young Jordanians believe that they have no influence on changing laws […] and many young people express lack of trust in parliamentary elections […]
It does not mean, however, that young Jordanians have no political opinions. A survey carried out during the 4th North Forum indicates clearly that they know what qualities an ideal municipal and parliamentary candidate should have.
There has been an increase in the number of young people who came in contact with the police and authorities responsible for juveniles; between 1999 and 2001 it was 30 thousand, while crimes involving juvenile offenders constituted 11% of all crimes […]
On the other hand, it is believed that adolescents and youth are the main victims of domestic violence. Especially vulnerable are young females […]