Jordan

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Flag of Jordan
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Location of Jordan
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OF JORDAN
 

Introduction

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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 defeated Palestinian rebels who attempted 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, King HUSSEIN's eldest son, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and implemented some economic and political reforms. 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 last held in November 2010 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats. Beginning in January 2011 in the wake of unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, several thousand Jordanians staged weekly demonstrations and marches in Amman and other cities throughout Jordan to protest government corruption, rising prices, rampant poverty, and high unemployment. In response, King ABDALLAH replaced his prime minister and formed two commissions - one to propose specific reforms to Jordan's electoral and political parties laws, and the other to consider limited constitutional amendments. In a televised speech in June, the King announced plans to work toward transferring authority for appointing future prime ministers and cabinet ministers to parliament; in a subsequent announcement, he outlined a revised political parties law intended to encourage greater political participation. Protesters and opposition elements generally acknowledged those measures as steps in the right direction but many continue to push for greater limits on the King's authority and to fight against government corruption. In September, a royal decree approved constitutional amendments passed by the Parliament aimed at strengthening a more independent judiciary and establishing a constitutional court and independent election commission to oversee the next municipal and parliamentary elections, slated for December 2011 and late 2012, respectively.
 
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Geography

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Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia, between Israel (to the west) and Iraq
 
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31 00 N, 36 00 E
 
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total: 89,342 sq km
country comparison to the world: 112
land: 88,802 sq km
water: 540 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Indiana
 
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total: 1,635 km
border countries: Iraq 181 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 744 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km
 
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26 km
 
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territorial sea: 3 nm
 
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mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)
 
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mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River
 
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lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Jabal Umm ad Dami 1,854 m
 
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phosphates, potash, shale oil
 
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arable land: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)
 
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820 sq km (2008)
 
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0.9 cu km (1997)
 
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total: 1.01 cu km/yr (21%/4%/75%)
per capita: 177 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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droughts; periodic earthquakes
 
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limited natural freshwater resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
 
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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
 
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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
 
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People and Society

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noun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian
 
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Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
 
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Arabic (official), English (widely understood among upper and middle classes)
 
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Sunni Muslim 92% (official), 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.)
 
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6,508,271 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
 
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0-14 years: 35.3% (male 1,180,595/female 1,114,533)
15-64 years: 59.9% (male 1,977,075/female 1,921,504)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 153,918/female 160,646) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 22.1 years
male: 21.8 years
female: 22.4 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.984% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
 
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26.79 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
 
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2.69 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
 
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-14.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 216
 
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urban population: 79% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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AMMAN (capital) 1.088 million (2009)
 
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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 (2011 est.)
 
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59 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
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total: 16.42 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 107
male: 16.98 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 80.05 years
country comparison to the world: 29
male: 78.73 years
female: 81.45 years (2011 est.)
 
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3.39 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
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4.5% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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2.45 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 55
 
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1.8 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 110
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 91% of population
total: 96% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 9% of population
total: 4% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 98% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 2% of population (2008)
 
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less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
 
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600 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
 
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fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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19.5% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 84.7% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2008)
 
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total: 27%
country comparison to the world: 21
male: 22.6%
female: 45.9% (2009)
 
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Government

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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
 
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constitutional monarchy
 
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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 first Friday in April; ends last Friday in October
 
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12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba
 
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25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
 
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Independence Day, 25 May (1946)
 
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1 January 1952; amended many times
 
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mixed legal system of civil law and Islamic religious law; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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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 Awn Shawkat KHASAWNAH (since 24 October 2011); Deputy Prime Minister Tawfiq KREISHAN (since 2 July 2011)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch; note - on 1 February 2011 the King dismissed the cabinet and designated Marouf al-BAKHIT the new prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
 
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bicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, also called the House of Notables or Majlis al-Ayan (60 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 (120 seats; members elected using a single, non-transferable vote system in multi-member districts to serve four-year terms); note - the new electoral law enacted in May 2010 allocated an additional 10 seats (6 seats added to the number reserved for women, bringing the total to 12; 2 additional seats for Amman; and 1 seat each for the cities of Zarqa and Irbid; unchanged are 9 seats reserved for Christian candidates, 9 for Bedouin candidates, and 3 for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 9 November 2010 (next scheduled in 2012); note - the King dissolved the previous Chamber of Deputies in November 2009, midway through the parliamentary term
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents and other 120 (includes 12 seats filled by women's quota and 1 woman was directly elected); note - the IAF boycotted the election
 
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Court of Cassation (Supreme Court)
 
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Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party [Fuad DABBOUR]; Ba'ath Arab Progressive Party [Tayseer al-HAMSI]; Call Party [Mohammed Abu BAKR]; Democratic People's Party [Ablah al-ULBAH]; Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'ed DIAB]; Islamic Action Front or IAF [Hamzeh MANSOUR]; 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 Current Party [Abd al-Hadi al-MAJALI]; National Movement for Direct Democracy [Mohammed al-QAQ]
 
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Anti-Normalization Committee [Hamzeh MANSOUR, chairman]; Higher Coordination Committee of Opposition Parties [Hamzeh MANZOUR]; Jordan Bar Association [Saleh al-ARMUTI, chairman]; Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]; Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood [Dr. Hamam SAID, controller general]
 
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ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CICA, FAO, G-11, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Alia Hatough BOURAN
chancery: 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2664
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3110
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Stuart E. JONES
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
 
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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
 
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eagle
 
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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
 
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Economy

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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 ABDALLAH 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. Export-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, mining, and the transport of re-exports have been hit the hardest. The Government approved two supplementary budgets in 2010, but sweeping tax cuts planned for 2010 did not materialize because of Amman's need for additional revenue to cover excess spending. The budget deficit is likely to remain high, at 5-6% of GDP, and Amman likely will continue to depend heavily on foreign assistance to finance the deficit in 2011. 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.
 
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$34.53 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
$33.49 billion (2009 est.)
$32.73 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$27.53 billion (2010 est.)
 
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3.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
2.3% (2009 est.)
7.6% (2008 est.)
 
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$5,400 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$5,300 (2009 est.)
$5,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 4.4%
industry: 30.3%
services: 65.3% (2010 est.)
 
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1.719 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 20%
services: 77.4% (2007 est.)
 
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12.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
12.9% (2009 est.)
note: official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30%
 
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14.2% (2002)
 
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lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 30.7% (2006)
 
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39.7 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 65
36.4 (1997)
 
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26.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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revenues: $6.008 billion
expenditures: $8.051 billion (2010 est.)
 
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21.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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-7.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
 
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61.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
59.7% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
-0.7% (2009 est.)
 
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0.3% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
4.75% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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8.9% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
9.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$9.238 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
$8.518 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$35.53 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
$33.38 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$26.72 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
$25.14 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$30.86 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 56
$31.86 billion (31 December 2009)
$35.85 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, strawberries, stone fruits; sheep, poultry, dairy
 
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clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism
 
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-3.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
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13.01 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
 
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11.3 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
 
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323 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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224 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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88 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
 
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98,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
 
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111,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
 
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1 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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250 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
 
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3.1 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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2.85 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
 
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6.031 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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-$974.5 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
-$1.27 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$7.333 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
$6.366 billion (2009 est.)
 
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clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphates, vegetables, pharmaceuticals
 
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US 15.6%, Iraq 15.4%, India 13.2%, Saudi Arabia 10.6%, UAE 4.3%, Syria 4% (2010)
 
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$12.97 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$12.5 billion (2009 est.)
 
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crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, iron, cereals
 
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Saudi Arabia 19.8%, China 10.8%, Germany 6.1%, US 5.6%, Egypt 4.5%, South Korea 4.2% (2010)
 
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$13.65 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
$12.14 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$17.46 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
$7.301 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
 
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$20.67 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
$18.89 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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Jordanian dinars (JOD) per US dollar -
0.709 (2010)
0.709 (2009)
0.709 (2008)
0.709 (2007)
0.709 (2006)
 
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Communications

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485,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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6.62 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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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)
 
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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)
 
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.jo
 
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42,412 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
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1.642 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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Transportation

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18 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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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)
 
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total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2010)
 
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1 (2010)
 
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gas 439 km; oil 49 km (2010)
 
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total: 507 km
country comparison to the world: 111
narrow gauge: 507 km 1.050-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 7,891 km
country comparison to the world: 143
paved: 7,891 km (2009)
 
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total: 13
country comparison to the world: 107
by type: cargo 5, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 7 (UAE 7)
registered in other countries: 20 (Bahamas 2, Egypt 2, Panama 13, Syria 2, unknown 1) (2010)
 
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Al 'Aqabah
 
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Military

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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) (2011)
 
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17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription for males at age 18 was suspended in 1999, but reinstated in July 2007 in order to provide youth training necessary for job market needs; 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 (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,674,260
females age 16-49: 1,611,315 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,439,192
females age 16-49: 1,384,500 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 73,574
female: 69,420 (2010 est.)
 
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8.6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 4
 
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Transnational Issues

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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
 
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refugees (country of origin): 1,835,704 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)); 500,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 160,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2007)
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