Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Flag of Jordan                                Map of Jordan
Background:Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the name of Jordan in 1950. The country's long-time ruler was King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic leader, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, despite several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization; in 1994 he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. Municipal elections were held in July 2007 under a system in which 20% of seats in all municipal councils were reserved by quota for women. Parliamentary elections were held in November 2007 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats. In November 2007, King Abdallah instructed his new prime minister to focus on socioeconomic reform, developing a healthcare and housing network for civilians and military personnel, and improving the educational system.
Location:Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:31 00 N, 36 00 E
Map references:Middle East
Area:total: 92,300 sq km
land: 91,971 sq km
water: 329 sq km
Area—comparative:slightly smaller than Indiana
Land boundaries:total: 1,635 km
border countries: Iraq 181 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 744 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km
Coastline:26 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 3 nm
Climate:mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)
Terrain:mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Jabal Ram 1,734 m
Natural resources:phosphates, potash, shale oil
Land use:arable land: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)
Irrigated land:750 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:0.9 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 1.01 cu km/yr (21%/4%/75%)
per capita: 177 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:droughts; periodic earthquakes
Environment—current issues:limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment—international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography—note:strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank
Population:6,053,193 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 33% (male 1,018,934/female 977,645)
15-64 years: 63% (male 2,037,550/female 1,777,361)
65 years and over: 4% (male 117,279/female 124,424) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 23.5 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 22.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:2.412% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:20.69 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:2.68 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:6.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.042 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.146 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.943 male(s)/female
total population: 1.102 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 16.16 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.33 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.81 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 78.55 years
male: 76.04 years
female: 81.22 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:2.55 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:less than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian
Ethnic groups:Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
Religions:Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shi'a Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)
Languages:Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 84.7% (2003 est.)
Country name:conventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
conventional short form: Jordan
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah
local short form: Al Urdun
former: Transjordan
Government type:constitutional monarchy
Capital:name: Amman
geographic coordinates: 31 57 N, 35 56 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Thursday in March; ends last Friday in September
Administrative divisions:12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba
Independence:25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
National holiday:Independence Day, 25 May (1946)
Constitution:1 January 1952; amended many times
Legal system:based on Islamic law and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Prince HUSSEIN (born 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH II, is considered to be first in line to inherit the throne
head of government: Prime Minister Nader al-DAHABI (since 25 November 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:bicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, also called the House of Notables or Majlis al-Ayan (55 seats; members appointed by the monarch from designated categories of public figures to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies, also called the House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwaab (110 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms; note - six seats are reserved for women and are allocated by a special electoral panel if no women are elected)
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held 20 November 2007 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - IAF 5.5 %, independents and other 94.5%; seats by party - IAF 6, independents and other 104; note - seven women will serve in the next Assembly - six of whom filled women's quota seats and one was directly elected
Judicial branch:Court of Cassation; Supreme Court (court of final appeal)
Political parties and leaders:al-Ahd Party; Arab Islamic Democratic Movement [Yusuf ABU BAKR]; Arab Land Party [Dr. Ayishah Salih HIJAZAYN]; Arab Socialist Ba'th Party [Taysir al-HIMSI]; Ba'th Arab Progressive Party [Fu'ad DABBUR]; Freedom Party; Future Party; Islamic Action Front or IAF [Zaki Sa'ed BANI IRSHEID]; Islamic Center Party [Marwan al-FAURI]; Jordanian Arab Ansar Party; Jordanian Arab New Dawn Party; Jordanian Arab Party; Jordanian Citizens' Rights Movement; Jordanian Communist Party [Munir HAMARINAH]; Jordanian Communist Workers Party; Jordanian Democratic Left Party [Musa MA'AYTEH]; Jordanian Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'id Dhiyab Ali MUSTAFA]; Jordanian Generations Party [Muhammad KHALAYLEH]; Jordanian Green Party [Muhammad BATAYNEH]; Jordanian Labor Party [Dr. Mazin Sulayman Jiryis HANNA]; Jordanian Peace Party; Jordanian People's Committees Movement; Jordanian People's Democratic Party (Hashd) [Ahmad YUSUF]; Jordanian Rafah Party; Jordanian Renaissance Party; Mission Party; Nation Party [Ahmad al-HANANDEH]; National Action Party (Haqq) [Tariq al-KAYYALI]; National Constitutional Party [Abdul Hadi MAJALI]; National Popular Democratic Movement [Mahmud al-NUWAYHI]; Progressive Party [Fawwaz al-ZUBI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:Anti-Normalization Committee [Ali Abu SUKKAR, president vice chairman]; Jordan Bar Association [Hussein Mujalli, chairman]; Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]; Muslim Brotherhood [Salem AL-FALAHAT, controller general]
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador ZEID Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, Prince
chancery: 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2664
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3110
Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Alan MISENHEIMER
embassy: Abdun, Amman
mailing address: P. O. Box 354, Amman 11118 Jordan; Unit 70200, Box 5, APO AE 09892-0200
telephone: [962] (6) 590-6000
FAX: [962] (6) 592-0121
Flag description:three equal horizontal bands of black (top), representing the Abbassid Caliphate, white, representing the Ummayyad Caliphate, and green, representing the Fatimid Caliphate; a red isosceles triangle on the hoist side, representing the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, and bearing a small white seven-pointed star symbolizing the seven verses of the opening Sura (Al-Fatiha) of the Holy Koran; the seven points on the star represent faith in One God, humanity, national spirit, humility, social justice, virtue, and aspirations; design is based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I
Economy—overview:Jordan is a small Arab country with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources. Poverty, unemployment, and inflation are fundamental problems, but King ABDALLAH II, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. Since Jordan's graduation from its most recent IMF program in 2002, Amman has continued to follow IMF guidelines, practicing careful monetary policy, making substantial headway with privatization, and opening the trade regime. Jordan's exports have significantly increased under the free trade accord with the US and Jordanian Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ), which allow Jordan to export goods duty free to the US. In 2006, Jordan reduced its debt-to-GDP ratio significantly. These measures have helped improve productivity and have made Jordan more attractive for foreign investment. Before the US-led war in Iraq, Jordan imported most of its oil from Iraq. Since 2003, however, Jordan has been more dependent on oil from other Gulf nations. The government ended subsidies for petroleum and other consumer goods in 2008 in an effort to control the budget. The main challenges facing Jordan are reducing dependence on foreign grants, reducing the budget deficit, attracting investments, and creating jobs.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$28.18 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$15.7 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:5.7% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$4,700 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 3.7%
industry: 10.5%
services: 85.8% (2007 est.)
Labor force:1.563 million (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 5%
industry: 12.5%
services: 82.5% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:13.5% official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:14.2% (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 30.6% (2003)
Distribution of family income—Gini index:38.8 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):5.4% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):27.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $4.999 billion
expenditures: $6.449 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:67.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives; sheep, poultry, stone fruits, strawberries, dairy
Industries:clothing, phosphate mining, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, potash, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:7.7% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:9.074 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:8.49 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:4 million kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:741 million kWh (2005)
Oil—production:0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:109,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil—imports:106,400 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil—proved reserves:1 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:268.5 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:1.496 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:1.228 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:5.975 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-1.69 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$6.037 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:clothing, pharmaceuticals, potash, phosphates, fertilizers, vegetables, manufactures
Exports—partners:US 25.2%, Iraq 16.9%, India 8%, Saudi Arabia 5.8%, Syria 4.7% (2006)
Imports:$11.08 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:crude oil, textile fabrics, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods
Imports—partners:Saudi Arabia 23.2%, Germany 8.3%, China 8%, US 5.3% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$8.595 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$7.483 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$8.154 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$29.73 billion (2006)
Economic aid—recipient:ODA, $752 million (2005 est.)
Currency (code):Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Exchange rates:Jordanian dinars per US dollar - 0.709 (2007), 0.709 (2006), 0.709 (2005), 0.709 (2004), 0.709 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:614,000 (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:4.343 million (2006)
Telephone system:general assessment: service has improved recently with increased use of digital switching equipment; microwave radio relay transmission and coaxial and fiber-optic cable are employed on trunk lines; growing mobile-cellular usage in both urban and rural areas is reducing use of fixed-line services; internet penetration remains modest and slow-growing
domestic: 1995 telecommunications law opened all non-fixed-line services to private competition; in 2005, monopoly over fixed-line services terminated and the entire telecommunications sector was opened to competition; mobile-cellular usage is increasing rapidly and teledensity is approaching 75 per 100 persons
international: country code - 962; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat, 1 Arabsat, and 29 land and maritime Inmarsat terminals; fiber-optic cable to Saudi Arabia and microwave radio relay link with Egypt and Syria; participant in Medarabtel
Radio broadcast stations:FM 31 (2007)
Television broadcast stations:22 (2007)
Internet country
Internet hosts:2,500 (2007)
Internet users:796,900 (2006)
Airports:17 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 15
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Heliports:1 (2007)
Pipelines:gas 426 km; oil 49 km (2007)
Railways:total: 505 km
narrow gauge: 505 km 1.050-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:total: 7,500 km
paved: 7,500 km (2004)
Merchant marine:total: 30 ships (1000 GRT or over) 410,472 GRT/564,643 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 11, container 3, passenger/cargo 8, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 15 (UAE 15)
registered in other countries: 15 (Bahamas 2, Panama 11, Syria 2) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Al 'Aqabah
Military branches:Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF): Royal Jordanian Land Force, Royal Jordanian Navy, Royal Jordanian Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya al-Urduniya), Special Operations Command (Socom); Public Security Directorate (normally falls under Ministry of Interior, but comes under JAF in wartime or crisis situations) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription at age 18 was suspended in 1999, although all males under age 37 are required to register; women not subject to conscription, but can volunteer to serve in non-combat military positions (2004)
Manpower available for military service:males age 17-49: 1,573,995
females age 17-49: 1,346,642 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 17-49: 1,348,076
females age 17-49: 1,158,011 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 60,625
females age 17-49: 58,218 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:8.6% (2006)
Transnational Issues
Disputes—international:approximately two million Iraqis have fled the conflict in Iraq, with the majority taking refuge in Syria and Jordan; 2004 Agreement settles border dispute with Syria pending demarcation
Refugees and internally displaced persons:refugees (country of origin): 1,835,704 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)), 700,000 - 1,000,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 160,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2006)


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