According to the BBC Syria has the lowest unemployment in its selection of Arab states, and the second lowest percentage of the population living below the poverty line, after Tunisia. I know some people working for UNICEF and the UNHCR here, and they say one of the most frustrating things is the total lack of any reliable statistical information about the population. No answer to questions like how many children are the in the country. Academic artical frequently bemoan the unreliable nature of regional sochial indicies. These are either made up or out of date or both, as are the ones for neighboring states. As a rough guess though they’re probably fairly accurate in relation to the neighboring states.
Practical everybody I know is planning to watch the Protests in Syria this Saturday, either just out of interest or with an eye to joining in if the are enough people for it to be safe to do so. I’m imagining a dense ring of spectators with about 8 protesters in the center.
Syria is relatively socially liberal, and far more politically liberal than it used to be. people know life could be a lot worse.