Sunday, November 30, 2008

Iraqi Al-Amal Association and Baghdad University’s Public Opinion Poll On Poverty In Iraq

The University of Baghdad and the Iraqi Al-Amal Association recently released a public opinion poll they conducted on poverty in Iraq. Khalid Kahntoush Sachet of the College of Arts oversaw the study. It surveyed 11,198 families from ten provinces. The survey found that there were a large number of female-headed households due to wives losing their husbands because of violence. Iraqi families also had large numbers of children. Together these increased the poverty level in the country, as women can’t provide as much as men, and the size of Iraqi families have increased while the economy has not. Almost two-thirds of the families interviewed were found to be below the international poverty line, and few receive any help. They still believed in the government however, and most wanted to participate in the upcoming elections.

Families

The first questions were about the state of the families. 59.4% were headed by males, while 39.9% were headed by women. Most Middle Eastern families have male heads of households, so this was a very high percentage led by women. The cause is the violence that has wracked the country. Of those women leaders, 65.6% were widowed. The number of people in each family was also large, usually between 6-10, 49.3%, followed by 1-5, 43%. This increased poverty, as the economy has not as grown as fast as the size of families, leading to unemployment. 65.9% of families earned 250,000 dinars or less. That equaled roughly $420 a year for each family member, below the $500 international poverty level. 60.5% of those interviewed were displaced. Of those, 87.1% said they wanted to return to their homes if security improved.

Aid and Needs

The majority of families were in need of basic services, but received little aid official or otherwise. In terms of the government, only 31.5% of those surveyed received aid from any ministries or local governments. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which is responsible for the poor, only helped 12.9%. The Ministry of Displacement and Migration only helped 9.3%. Local councils assisted 6.5%. 68.5% received no government assistance at all. Non-government organizations (NGOs) did much better, aiding 50.8%. That still left a large percentage of the population sample without any help. Despite this, 74.3% believed that the government could assist them in some way.

The basic needs of the families broke down into three groups, which the study called security – electricity 22.3%, water 20.3%, and housing/shelter 10.1%, employment – food 9.3%, jobs 9.3%, money 9.2%, and services – fuel 8.9%, health care 7.8%, and schools 2.4%.

Provincial Elections

58.1% of respondents said they wanted to vote in the upcoming elections, with 23% were undecided, and 18.9% said they would not participate. When asked what kind of party they would vote for independents came in first, 26.3%, followed by democratic-secular groups 23.7%, and religious parties 22.7%. Tribal figures 7.3% and national blocs 6.3% came in last. When broken down by province, the democratic-secular parties fared the best, coming in first in Baghdad, Diyala, and Sulaymaniya, and second in Salahaddin, Anbar, Najaf, and Qadisiyah. Independents came in first in Basra, and second in Baghdad, Tamim, and Diyala, while the religious parties came in first in Qadisiyah, Salahaddin, and Najaf, and second in Babil. Basra had the most telling responses. The Shiite Fadhila party currently runs the province, but 70.2% said they would vote for independent figures instead. When unidentified was added to that the number came to 90.3% who did not support the current ruling parties. Tribal figures were also only popular in Anbar due to the Awakening. As discussed before, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is currently forming Tribal Support Councils across much of the country. According to this poll, that may not help him much as they registered less than 10% or less in every province outside of Anbar.

Here are the results of the poll.

The survey questioned 11,198 families from 10 provinces

Origins
Anbar: 801 families – 7.1%
Babil: 981 families – 8.8%
Baghdad: 2729 families – 24.4%
Basra: 2000 families – 17.9%
Diyala: 810 families – 7.2%
Najaf: 900 families – 8%
Qadisiyah: 800 families – 7.1%
Salahaddin: 1140 families – 10.2%
Sulaymaniya: 800 families – 7.1%
Tamim: 237 families – 2.1%

Head of Household
Male: 6654 – 59.4%
Female: 4463 – 39.9%
Unidentified: 81 – 0.7%

Marital Status of Female Headed Households
Single: 336 – 7.5%
Unidentified: 518 – 11.6%
Divorced: 683 – 15.3%
Widowed: 2926 – 65.6%

Number of Family Members
Unidentified: 51 – 0.5%
More than 21: 12 – 0.1%
16-20 Members: 48 – 0.4%
11-15 Members: 749 – 6.7%
6-10 Members: 5524 – 49.3%
1-5 Members: 4814 – 43%

Monthly Family Income
Unidentified: 1289 – 11.5%
More than 500,000 dinars: 316 – 2.8%
351,000-500,000 dinars: 680 – 6.1%
250,000-350,000 dinars: 1530 – 13.7%
Less than 250,000 dinars: 7383 – 65.9%

International Poverty line is $500 a year per family member
Iraq averages to $420 a year per family member

Official Aid
Ministry of Endowment: 311 – 2.8%
City Council: 725 – 6.5%
Ministry of Displacement and Migration: 1045 – 9.3%
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs: 1447 – 12.9%
No Aid: 7670 – 68.5%

Non-Official Aid
Religious Organization: 1374 – 12.3%
Red Cross/Red Crescent: 1972 – 17.6%
International Non-Government Organization: 2337 – 20.9%
No Aid: 5515 – 49.2%

Would Displaced Families Return To Their Homes If Security Improved
Yes: 5905 – 87.1%
No: 876 – 12.9%

Basic Needs of Family
Others: 34 – 0.1%
Schooling: 773 – 2.4%
Health Care: 2551 – 7.8%
Fuel: 2902 – 8.9%
Money: 3000 – 9.2%
Jobs: 3029 – 9.3%
Food: 3121 – 9.6%
Housing/Shelter: 3256 – 10.1%
Water: 6626 – 20.3%
Electricity: 7286 – 22.3%

Can The Government Meet Their Needs Or Not
Unidentified: 461 – 4.1%
Unable: 2419 – 21.6%
To An Extent: 4142 – 37%
Able: 4176 – 37.3%

Desire To Vote In Upcoming Elections
Won’t vote: 2115 – 18.9%
Undecided: 2577 – 23%
Will vote: 6506 – 58.1%

What Kind of Parties Will They Vote For
National blocs: 706 – 6.3%
Tribal Figures: 822 – 7.3%
Unidentified: 1138 – 12.4%
Religious Parties: 2545 – 22.7%
Democratic-Secular blocs: 2639 – 23.7%
Independent Figures: 2947 – 26.3%

What Kind Of Parties Will They Vote For By Province
Anbar:
  • Unidentified: 2 – 0.2%
  • Religious Parties: 52 – 6.5%
  • National blocs: 4 – 0.5%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 273 – 34.7%
  • Independent Figures: 79 – 9.9%
  • Tribal Figures: 391 – 48.8%
Babil:
  • Unidentified: 551 – 56.2%
  • Religious Parties: 182 – 18.6%
  • National blocs: 8 – 0.8%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 111 – 11.3%
  • Independent Figures: 114 – 11.6%
  • Tribal Figures: 15 – 1.5%
Baghdad:
  • Unidentified: 427 – 15.6%
  • Religious Parties: 579 – 21.2%
  • National blocs: 106 – 3.9%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 828 – 30.3%
  • Independent Figures: 656 – 24.0%
  • Tribal Figures: 133 – 4.9%
Basra:
  • Unidentified: 401 – 20.1%
  • Religious Parties: 72 – 3.6%
  • National blocs: 2 – 0.1%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 73 – 3.7%
  • Independent Figures: 1404 – 70.2%
  • Tribal Figures: 48 – 2.4%
Diyala:
  • Unidentified: 42 – 5.2%
  • Religious Parties: 149 – 18.4%
  • National blocs: 47 – 5.7%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 270 – 33.3%
  • Independent Figures: 262 – 32.3%
  • Tribal Figures: 41 – 5.1%
Najaf:
  • Unidentified: 9 – 1.0%
  • Religious Parties: 388 – 43.1%
  • National blocs: 56 – 6.2%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 234 – 26.0%
  • Independent Figures: 120 – 13.3%
  • Tribal Figures: 93 – 10.3%
Qadisiyah:
  • Unidentified: 8 – 1.0%
  • Religious Parties: 461 – 57.6%
  • National blocs: 39 – 4.9%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 144 – 18.0%
  • Independent Figures: 128 – 16.0%
  • Tribal Figures: 20 – 2.5%
Salahaddin:
  • Unidentified: 16 – 1.4%
  • Religious Parties: 487 – 42.7%
  • National blocs: 135 – 11.8%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 388 – 34.0%
  • Independent Figures: 69 – 6.1%
  • Tribal Figures: 45 – 3.9%
Sulaymaniya:
  • Unidentified: 63 – 8.4%
  • Religious Parties: 159 – 19.9%
  • National blocs: 195 – 24.4%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 307 – 38.4%
  • Independent Figures: 55 – 6.9%
  • Tribal Figures: 21 – 2.6%
Tamim:
  • Unidentified: 20 – 8.4%
  • Religious Parties: 16 – 6.8%
  • National blocs: 115 – 48.5%
  • Democratic-Secular blocs: 11 – 4.6%
  • Independent Figures: 60 – 25.3%
  • Tribal Figures: 15 – 6.3%

What Should the United Nations Do In Iraq
Unidentified: 926 – 8.2%
Humanitarian Aid: 2530 – 22.6%
Supervise Elections: 2316 – 20.7%
Maintain Security: 5426 – 48.5%

For more on Iraqi public opinion see:

Iraq Center for Research & Strategic Studies’ Survey Of Iraqis

Pentagon Public Opinion Poll of Iraqis

SOURCES

Sachet, Khalid Hantoush, “Results of the Field Survey For Needs and Opinions of The Poor in Iraq,” Iraqi Al Amal Association and University of Baghdad, September 2008

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