AUB and UNRWA launch survey on the socioeconomic status of Palestine refugees in Lebanon

03 June 2016
© 2016 UNRWA Photo by Francesco Romagnolo

Today, the American University of Beirut (AUB), together with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), launched a “Survey on the Socioeconomic Status of Palestine Refugees in Lebanon, 2015”.  This publication updates the original flagship report from 2010, with leading academic research and analysis by the AUB.

Commissioned by UNRWA, this survey was conducted in April 2015 across nearly 3,000 households of Palestine Refugees from Lebanon (PRL) and more than 1,000 households of Palestine Refugees from Syria in Lebanon (PRS).

This publication gives an in depth analysis of  the living conditions and socio-economic status  of all Palestine refugees living in Lebanon, with a special focus on the Palestine refugees from Syria who sought refuge in Lebanon in the past five years. It highlights the challenges they face particularly with respect to their poverty levels and access to employment.

Five years after the 2010 AUB socioeconomic survey, 65 per cent of Palestine refugees from Lebanon and some 90 percent of PRS live in poverty, including 9 per cent of the PRS living in extreme poverty and unable to meet even their most essential food requirements. Unemployment is comparatively of concern at 23.2 per cent for PRL and 52.5 per cent for PRS.

The launch of this groundbreaking study took place at the Maammari Auditorium of the Suliman Olayan School of Business on AUB campus and was attended by UN officials, representatives of the host country Lebanon, representatives of the Palestinian community in Lebanon, the donor community, international and local NGOs, members of academia and the media. The event included keynote presentations by Interim Associate Provost at AUB, Dr. Hala Muhtasib representing AUB President Dr. Fadlo R.  Khuri; the United Nations Special Representative for Lebanon, Ms Sigrid Kaag; Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Matthias Schmale; the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. Ashraf Dabbour; and the AUB lead author of the report Dr. Jad Chaaban.

This study would not have been possible without the generous funding provided from the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan/UNRWA Syria Emergency Appeal, the European Union, and UNICEF.

Read the complete report

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance. 

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
Zizette Darkazally
Public Information Officer - Lebanon Field Office
Mobile: 
+ 961 (0)1 840 490
Office: 
+ 961 (0)1 830 400
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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