The income gaps in Lebanon are large. The small
elite's wealth has grown since the end of the civil war
in 1990, while the income of the poor has not increased
significantly. The country also has no tradition of
trying to distribute income equally. Poverty and lack of
resources have also increased due to the large influx of
refugees from Syria.
In Lebanon, those who have to manage on less than $ 4
a day (around SEK 30) are considered poor. This group
covers more than a quarter of the population - almost
1.3 million people. Extremely poor is the one who has
only one and a quarter dollars available - that's around
350,000 people. Outside of the statistics, all Syrian
refugees - over a million people - who also live in
Syria are in temporary conditions.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Lebanon, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Many people lack access to water, healthcare,
education. Between 50 and 90 percent of schools and
hospitals are privately owned and operated commercially,
which helps to exclude the poorest.
For those who can pay, health care is of high
quality. A large expense for the state is health
insurance for public employees who are taken care of in
private hospitals. About 55 percent of the population is
estimated to be completely uninsured. In recent years,
political organizations, such as Hezbollah, have built
hospitals and offered subsidized care.
There are two social security systems - one for those
who are privately employed and one for those working in
the public sector. The systems, which include child
benefits, pensions and sickness benefits, are primarily
financed by employers. Anyone who has no job also has no
right to these benefits.
During the civil war in Syria, Lebanon has received a
fierce stream of refugees. Around one million Syrians
have been registered as refugees in Lebanon in recent
years, but the authorities estimate that another half a
million Syrians have been in the country because of the
war. Despite assistance from the UN refugee agency UNHCR
to manage the refugee stream, Lebanon is under pressure
and resources such as health care, schools and water and
electricity supply are under severe pressure. There are
no organized refugee camps for Syrians. Those who can
afford rent a room or a home, but UNHCR estimates that
more than half of all refugees live in abandoned houses,
garages, sheds or tents.
The lack of resources has led to contradictions
between Lebanese and refugees. At least 45
municipalities have introduced a curfew for refugees and
the local citizen guard has been formed to ensure that
the refugees obey the ban. The refugee stream has also
caused an increase in the number of street children. Of
around 1,500 children who were estimated to live and
support themselves on the street in 2015, including
through begging, close to three quarters were from
Syria. A quarter of the children were as young as nine
years or less.
In the country, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian
refugees have been living for a long time. Over the
years, the UN, through UNRWA, has registered up to
470,000 as refugees, but a bill carried out in 2017
meant that the number dropped to below 200,000. The
Palestinians in Lebanon are poorer than Palestinian
refugees in other countries. They lack fundamental
rights, although many of them have lived in Lebanon for
over 60 years. They are denied citizenship and their
right to own real estate is limited, as is access to the
labor market. The standard of living in the country's
twelve Palestinian refugee camps is low.
In Lebanon, religion is important, even for
non-believers. Religion, like family affiliation, is an
important part of identity. Religious affiliation is
also indicated on the ID card. Political power is added
according to a predetermined pattern, where different
religious groups are assigned different positions (see
Political system). This sharp division
has led Lebanon to be a fragmented society, where
cohesion is strong within each group.
The religious groups are themselves responsible for
family law and have their own rules for, for example,
engagement, marriage, divorce and inheritance. Women are
often discriminated against. Among the Sunni Muslims,
for example, the son inherits twice as much as his
daughter. Muslim men may differ at their own discretion,
but the woman can only differ if the man is in it. In
some Christian societies it is generally forbidden to
divorce. A woman who is divorced is not entitled to any
part of the couple's common property unless they are
registered on her, which is rarely the case.
Polygamy is allowed under Muslim law, but rare.
Lebanese citizenship is inherited from the father. If
the mother is Lebanese, but not the father, the child
does not become a Lebanese citizen.
Family ties are strong and cousins and other
relatives are often as close to each other as siblings.
The wealthier members of the family are expected to
share with poorer relatives. The man is the head of the
family. The woman is expected to take care of children
A law banning domestic violence was passed in early
April 2014 after several years of lobbying by women's
rights organizations and members of parliament. Critics
have pointed out that the law is too vaguely designed
and unspecific to fully guarantee women's safety, but it
is nevertheless considered an important step on the road
to better conditions for women.
In the past, both Christian and Muslim marriages were
arranged by the parents. Now it has become common for
young people to date, especially in the cities. Since it
is considered important that the man is financially
independent when he marries, many men wait for marriage
until they reach their thirties. Women usually marry
Sex before marriage is generally not accepted. If a
young woman has sex before she marries, it is considered
to harm the family's honor and can have far-reaching
consequences. It can even cause relatives to murder the
girl, or the one she has had sex with, to restore family
Gay acts are perceived as criminal and can lead to a
year in prison. Pride events have been held, but
disturbed by government intervention.
Child marriage occurs, especially in rural areas in
the northern and eastern parts of the country. The
phenomenon has become more common during the Syrian
civil war. Marrying a daughter is a way for a refugee
family to ease the burden of livelihood. It then becomes
a mouth smaller in the family to saturate.
A bill is being prepared to put an end to child
marriage. Among Christians, the lowest marriage age is
between 16 and 18 years for young men and between 14 and
18 years for girls. Among Muslims, the limit is 18 for
men and between 14 and 17 for girls, but at the family's
request, exceptions can be made and girls as young as
nine years old can be allowed to marry. In the draft law
being prepared, it is not enough for a religious court
to make such an exception - even a civil judge must give
One tenth of all children in Lebanon work, among the
refugee children the proportion is much higher.
About our sources
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
6 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
92.3 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
98.5 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
7.4 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 662 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
5 percent (2018)
Presidential elections postponed following murder of general
In an attack in the Christian Beirut suburb of Baabda in December, the
general who would succeed Michel Suleiman as army chief and two other people are
killed. The murders are condemned in all political camps, but disagreements
remain and the presidential election is postponed again. The Arab League is
committed as a mediator.
Presidential candidate accepted - subject to conditions
Conversations between government and opposition lead to both political camps
accepting Michel Suleiman as presidential candidate. However, opposition leader
Michel Aoun sets a couple of conditions: that a "neutral" prime minister be
appointed and that Suleiman should not sit for a full term but only until the
next parliamentary elections to be held in 2009. The election of Suleiman is
postponed further due to disagreement between the blocs on the composition of
Violence at the refugee camp is decreasing
The fighting at the Palestinian refugee camp outside Tripoli is ebbing (see
May). According to the Ministry of Defense, the fighting has
claimed over 400 casualties. An unknown number of people must have been buried
in mass graves in the camp. More than 200 rebels have been captured.
Increased fragmentation before the presidential election
In mid-September, Antoine Ghanem, a member of the Kataeb parliament, is
murdered (see November 2006). The assassination increases the divide before the
presidential election, and the opposition fails when Parliament is convened. New
dates are set for the election, but they are repeatedly moved forward, as no
candidate can be found whom both camps in Parliament can accept.
UN soldiers killed in southern Lebanon
In June, six UN soldiers were killed in southern Lebanon. It is the first
attack against UNIFIL since been strengthened by the war in summer 2006. Sunni
Islamists, inspired by the terror network al-Qaeda, is suspected of having done
Several bomb attacks shake the country during the month. Anti-Syrian MP Walid
Eido loses life in a powerful car bomb in central Beirut.
Several dead in fire fighting
In early June, a firefight between the army and Islamists occurred at an
entrance to the largest Palestinian refugee camp outside the city of Saida. Five
people are killed.
The UN wants to take coercive measures against Lebanon
At the end of May 2007, the western countries of the UN Security Council are
presenting a resolution based on Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, which means
that the UN can resort to coercive measures. An international tribunal can thus
be formed without Lebanese approval. Five countries, including Russia and China,
cast their votes, claiming that the Security Council exceeded their powers by
intervening in Lebanon's internal affairs.
Struggles between Islamists and government forces
Violent fighting erupts in mid-May between government forces and members of
an Islamist Palestinian group near a refugee camp outside Tripoli in the north.
The unrest begins outside the camp when security forces are to arrest people
suspected of bank robbery. The soldiers are then attacked by the Islamists.
Three days of fighting result in nearly 80 casualties (33 army soldiers, 27
Islamists and 18 civilians). The fighting continues during the summer.