Household economy and livelihoods among Iraqi refugees in Syria

Shannon Doocy, Gilbert Burnham, Elizabeth Biermann, Margarita Tileva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


According to current estimates, Syria hosts the largest number of Iraqi refugees in the region. This study aimed to provide information on the household economy and livelihoods among Iraqi refugees residing in urban areas of Syria. A nationally representative 80 × 10 cluster survey of Iraqi refugee households (total n = 800) was conducted in March 2009. Overall, 69 per cent of households reported having financial difficulties; 14 per cent fell below the poverty line of US$1/person/day and 41 per cent were living on less than US$2/person/day. High levels of dependency on remittances, pensions, and UN support were observed. Nearly 40 per cent of households reported an employed member, of whom 58 per cent reported workplace difficulties. Uncertain legal status and inability to work in the formal sector are principal concerns among the Iraqi population in Syria. Humanitarian assistance planners should consider livelihoods and cash transfer programmes that promote income generation and reduce dependency on savings and other outside sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfer049
Pages (from-to)282-300
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Education
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Iraqi refugees
  • Livelihoods
  • Syria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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