Introduction    Jordan Top of Page
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. Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 war and barely managed to defeat Palestinian rebels who threatened to overthrow the monarchy in 1970. King HUSSEIN in 1988 permanently relinquished Jordanian claims to the West Bank. In 1989, he reinstituted parliamentary elections and initiated a gradual political liberalization; political parties were legalized in 1992. 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. In 2003, Jordan staunchly supported the Coalition ouster of Saddam in Iraq and following the outbreak of insurgent violence in Iraq, absorbed thousands of displaced Iraqis. 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 2009, King ABDALLAH exercised his constitutional authority to dissolve parliament and called for new elections. Separately, he dismissed the government and appointed a new prime minister and cabinet in December 2009. The King charged the new government with conducting elections before the end of 2010 as well as instituting economic and political reforms.
   Geography    Jordan Top of Page
Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:
31 00 N, 36 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 89,342 sq km
land: 88,802 sq km
water: 540 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
26 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm
mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)
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 Umm ad Dami 1,854 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
   People    Jordan Top of Page
6,407,085 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.6% (male 1,174,409/female 1,108,685)
15-64 years: 59.6% (male 1,940,378/female 1,880,747)
65 years and over: 4.7% (male 148,916/female 153,950) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.8 years
male: 21.6 years
female: 22.1 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.159% (2010 est.)
Birth rate:
27.06 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Death rate:
2.66 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
Net migration rate:
-2.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
urban population: 78% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 17.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.92 years
male: 78.64 years
female: 81.28 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.42 children born/woman (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
600 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
noun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian
Ethnic groups:
Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
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 Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)
Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 84.7% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
4.9% of GDP (1999)
   Government    Jordan Top of Page
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
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 Friday in March; ends last Friday in October
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
25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 May (1946)
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
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Crown Prince HUSSEIN (born 28 June 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH II
head of government: Prime Minister Samir al-RIFAI (since 9 December 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy 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 to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies, also called the House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwaab (110 seats; members elected using a single, non-transferable vote system in multi-member districts to serve four-year terms); note - 6 seats are reserved for women, 9 seats are reserved for Christian candidates, 9 seats are reserved for Bedouin candidates, and 3 seats are reserved for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 20 November 2007 (next scheduled to be held in 2011); note - a royal decree was issued to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, effective 24 November 2009; no date announced for early elections
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - IAF 6, independents and other 104; note - seven women serve in the Assembly, six of whom filled women's quota seats and one was directly elected
Judicial branch:
Court of Cassation (Supreme Court)
Political parties and leaders:
Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party [Fuad DABBOUR]; Ba'ath Arab Progressive Party [Tayseer al-HAMSI]; Call Party [Mohammed Abu BAKR]; Democratic People's Party [Ahmad Yusuf 'ALIYA]; Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'ed DIAB]; Islamic Action Front or IAF [Ishaq al-FARHAN]; Islamic Center Party [Marwan al-FA'OURI; Jordanian Communist Party [Munir HAMARNEH]; Jordanian National Party [Mona Abu BAKR]; Jordanian United Front [Amjad al-MAJALI]; Life Party [Thaher 'AMROU]; Message Party [Hazem QASHOU]; National Constitution Party [Ahmed al-SHUNAQ]; National Movement for Direct Democracy [Mohammed al-QAQ]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Anti-Normalization Committee [Ali Abu SUKKAR, president vice chairman]; Jordan Bar Association [Saleh al-ARMUTI, chairman]; Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]; Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood [Dr. Hamam SAID, controller general]
International organization participation:
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 Robert S. BEECROFT
embassy: Abdoun, Amman
mailing address: P. O. Box 354, Amman 11118 Jordan; Unit 70200, Box 5, DPO 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
National anthem:

name: "As-salam al-malaki al-urdoni" (Long Live the King of Jordan)
lyrics/music: Abdul-Mone'm al-RIFAI'/Abdul-Qader al-TANEER
note: adopted 1946; the shortened version of the anthem is used most commonly, while the full version is reserved for special occasions
   Economy    Jordan Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Jordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit. Since assuming the throne in 1999, King Abdullah has implemented significant economic reforms, such as opening the trade regime, privatizing state-owned companies, and eliminating most fuel subsidies, which in the past few years have spurred economic growth by attracting foreign investment and creating some jobs. The global economic slowdown, however, has depressed Jordan's GDP growth while foreign assistance to the government in 2009 plummeted, hampering the government's efforts to reign in the large budget deficit. Export-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, mining, and the transport of re-exports have been hit the hardest. Amman is considering sweeping tax cuts to attract foreign investment and stimulate domestic growth, and the government has guaranteed bank deposits through 2010. Jordan's financial sector has been relatively isolated from the international financial crisis because of its limited exposure to overseas capital markets. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$33.05 billion (2009 est.)
$32.05 billion (2008 est.)
$30.35 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$22.82 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.1% (2009 est.)
5.6% (2008 est.)
6.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$5,300 (2009 est.)
$5,200 (2008 est.)
$5,100 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 29.9%
services: 66.5% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
1.667 million (2009 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 20%
services: 77.4% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate:
12.9% (2009 est.) 12.7% (2008 est.)
note: official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30%
Population below poverty line:
14.2% (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 30.7% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
39.7 (2007) 36.4 (1997)
Investment (gross fixed):
30.3% of GDP (2009 est.)
revenues: $5.925 billion
expenditures: $8.427 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
64.4% of GDP (2009 est.) 58.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-0.7% (2009 est.) 14.9% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
6.25% (31 December 2008) 7% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
9.03% (31 December 2008)
Stock of narrow money:
$7.781 billion (31 December 2008) $6.765 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of broad money:
$19.04 billion (31 December 2008) $15.38 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$25.05 billion (31 December 2008) $19.53 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$31.89 billion (31 December 2009) $35.85 billion (31 December 2008) $41.22 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, strawberries, stone fruits; sheep, poultry, dairy
clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
3% (2009 est.)
Electricity - production:
12.21 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
10.4 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports:
176 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
200 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption:
108,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports:
108,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
1 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production:
250 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
2.97 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
2.72 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
6.031 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Current account balance:
-$1.277 billion (2009 est.) -$2.354 billion (2008 est.)
$6.6 billion (2009 est.) $7.937 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphates, vegetables, pharmaceuticals
Exports - partners:
India 16.2%, Iraq 16.1%, US 13.1%, Saudi Arabia 6.9%, UAE 4.6% (2008)
$12.09 billion (2009 est.) $15.1 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, iron, cereals
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 21.1%, China 10.4%, Germany 6%, US 4.6%, Egypt 4.5%, Ukraine 4.3% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$11.33 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $8.918 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$6.715 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $6.794 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$17.82 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $16.52 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Exchange rates:
Jordanian dinars (JOD) per US dollar - 0.709 (2009), 0.709 (2008), 0.709 (2007), 0.709 (2006), 0.709 (2005)
   Communications    Jordan Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
503,000 (2009)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
5.9 million (2010)
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; currently multiple mobile-cellular providers with subscribership rapidly approaching 100 per 100 persons
international: country code - 962; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) FEA and FLAG Falcon submarine cable networks; satellite earth stations - 33 (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 (2010)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 28 (2010)
Television broadcast stations:
4 (2009)
Broadcast media:
radio and TV dominated by the government-owned Jordan Radio and Television Corporation (JRTV) that operates a main network, a sports network, a film network, and a satellite channel; first independent TV broadcaster aired in 2007; international satellite TV and Israeli and Syrian TV broadcasts are available; roughly 30 radio stations operational with JRTV operating the main government-owned station; transmissions of multiple international radio broadcasters are available (2007)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
28,896 (2009)
Internet users:
1.5 million (2008)
   Transportation    Jordan Top of Page
18 (2010)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 16
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2010)
1 (2010)
gas 439 km; oil 49 km (2009)
total: 507 km
narrow gauge: 507 km 1.050-m gauge (2008)
total: 7,891 km
paved: 7,891 km (2009)
Merchant marine:
total: 21
by type: cargo 8, container 1, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 13 (UAE 13)
registered in other countries: 24 (Algeria 7, Bahamas 2, Panama 13, Syria 2) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Al 'Aqabah
   Military    Jordan Top of Page
Military branches:
Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF): Royal Jordanian Land Force (RJLF), Royal Jordanian Navy, Royal Jordanian Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya al-Urduniya, RJAF), Special Operations Command (Socom); Public Security Directorate (normally falls under Ministry of Interior, but comes under JAF in wartime or crisis) (2008)
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 in the Royal Jordanian Arab Army Women's Corps; conscription for males only resurrected in July 2007 in order to provide youth training necessary for job market needs (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,646,215
females age 16-49: 1,579,268 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,416,681
females age 16-49: 1,358,608 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 73,554
female: 69,359 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
8.6% of GDP (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Jordan Top of Page
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)); 500,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 160,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2007)

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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