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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Jordan

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Jordan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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. After a two-year delay, parliamentary and municipal elections took place in the summer of 2003. The prime minister appointed in November 2005 stated the government would focus on political reforms, improving conditions for the poor, and fighting corruption.
   Geography    Jordan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
31 00 N, 36 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 92,300 sq km
land: 91,971 sq km
water: 329 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Indiana
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,635 km
border countries: Iraq 181 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 744 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km
Definition Field Listing
26 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 3 nm
Definition Field Listing
mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)
Definition Field Listing
mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Jabal Ram 1,734 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
phosphates, potash, shale oil
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
750 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
droughts; periodic earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,906,760 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 33.8% (male 1,018,070/female 976,442)
15-64 years: 62.4% (male 1,966,794/female 1,716,255)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 111,636/female 117,563) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 23 years
male: 23.7 years
female: 22.4 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.49% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.25 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.65 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 16.76 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 78.4 years
male: 75.9 years
female: 81.05 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.63 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 500 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
Definition Field Listing
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.)
Definition Field Listing
Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.3%
male: 95.9%
female: 86.3% (2003 est.)
   Government    Jordan Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
constitutional monarchy
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba
Definition Field Listing
25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 25 May (1946)
Definition Field Listing
1 January 1952; amended 1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1984
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Islamic law and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Prince HUSSEIN (born 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH, is first in line to inherit the throne
head of government: Prime Minister Marouf al-BAKHIT (since 24 November 2005); Deputy Prime Minister Ziad FARIZ (since 24 November 2005)
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:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, also called the House of Notables (Majlis al-Ayan) (55 seats; members appointed by the monarch from designated categories of public figures; members serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives, also called the House of Deputies (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: House of Representatives - last held 17 June 2003 (next to be held in 2007)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - independents and other 84.6%, IAF 15.4%; seats by party - independents and other 88, IAF 16; note - six women were appointed to fill the woman's quota seats, including one female member of the IAF; two IAF members were expelled from the House of Representatives in 2006
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Court of Cassation; Supreme Court (court of final appeal)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
al-Ahd Party; Arab Islamic Democratic Movement [Yusuf ABU BAKR, president]; Arab Land Party [Dr. Ayishah Salih HIJAZAYN, secretary general]; Arab Socialist Ba'th Party [Taysir al-HIMSI, secretary general]; Ba'th Arab Progressive Party [Fu'ad DABBUR, secretary general]; Freedom Party; Future Party; Islamic Action Front or IAF [Zaki Sa'ed BANI IRSHEID, secretary general]; Islamic Center Party [Marwan al-FAURI, secretary general]; Jordanian Arab Ansar Party; Jordanian Arab New Dawn Party; Jordanian Arab Party; Jordanian Citizens' Rights Movement; Jordanian Communist Party [Munir HAMARINAH, secretary general]; Jordanian Communist Workers Party; Jordanian Democratic Left Party [Musa MA'AYTEH, secretary general]; Jordanian Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'id Dhiyab Ali MUSTAFA, secretary general]; Jordanian Generations Party [Muhammad KHALAYLEH, secretary general]; Jordanian Green Party [Muhammad BATAYNEH, secretary general]; Jordanian Labor Party [Dr. Mazin Sulayman Jiryis HANNA, secretary general]; Jordanian Peace Party; Jordanian People's Committees Movement; Jordanian People's Democratic Party (Hashd) [Ahmad YUSUF, secretary general]; Jordanian Rafah Party; Jordanian Renaissance Party; Mission Party; Nation Party [Ahmad al-HANANDEH, secretary general]; National Action Party (Haqq) [Tariq al-KAYYALI, secretary general]; National Constitutional Party [Abdul Hadi MAJALI, secretary general]; National Popular Democratic Movement [Mahmud al-NUWAYHI, secretary general]; Progressive Party [Fawwaz al-ZUBI, secretary general]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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, secretary general]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Karim Tawfiq KAWAR
chancery: 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2664
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3110
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador David M. HALE
embassy: Abdoun, 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:
Definition Field Listing
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    Jordan Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Jordan is a small Arab country with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources. Debt, poverty, and unemployment are fundamental problems, but King ABDALLAH, 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, and making substantial headway with privatization. The government also has liberalized the trade regime sufficiently to secure Jordan's membership in the WTO (2000), a free trade accord with the US (2001), and an association agreement with the EU (2001). These measures have helped improve productivity and have put Jordan on the foreign investment map. Jordan imported most of its oil from Iraq, but the US-led war in Iraq in 2003 made Jordan more dependent on oil from other Gulf nations, and has forced the Jordanian Government to raise retail petroleum product prices and the sales tax base. Jordan's export market, which is heavily dependent on exports to Iraq, was also affected by the war but recovered quickly while contributing to the Iraq recovery effort. The main challenges facing Jordan are reducing dependence on foreign grants, reducing the budget deficit, and creating investment incentives to promote job creation.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$28.89 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$12.32 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4,900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 30.5%
services: 65.9% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.512 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 5%
industry: 12.5%
services: 82.5% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15% official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
30% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
36.4 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.6% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $4.191 billion
expenditures: $5.305 billion; including capital expenditures of $1.092 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
79.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, citrus, tomatoes, melons, olives; sheep, goats, poultry
Definition Field Listing
textiles, phosphate mining, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, potash, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.431 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.387 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
4 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
550 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
107,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
445,000 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
310 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.41 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.1 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.23 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-2.834 billion (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4.798 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
clothing, pharmaceuticals, potash, phosphates, fertilizers, vegetables, manufactures
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 26.2%, Iraq 17.1%, India 8.1%, Saudi Arabia 5.9%, Syria 4.7% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$10.42 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil, textile fabrics, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Saudi Arabia 23.6%, China 9.2%, Germany 8%, US 5.6% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.55 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$9.071 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $752 million (2005 est.)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Jordanian dinars per US dollar - 0.709 (2006), 0.709 (2005), 0.709 (2004), 0.709 (2003), 0.709 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Jordan Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
617,300 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,594,500 (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: service has improved recently with increased use of digital switching equipment, but better access to the telephone system is needed in the rural areas and easier access to pay telephones is needed by the urban public
domestic: microwave radio relay transmission and coaxial and fiber-optic cable are employed on trunk lines; considerable use of mobile cellular systems; Internet service is available
international: country code - 962; 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; connection to international submarine cable FLAG (Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe); participant in MEDARABTEL; international links total about 4,000
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
20 (plus 96 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,441 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
629,500 (2005)
   Transportation    Jordan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
1 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
gas 426 km; oil 49 km (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 505 km
narrow gauge: 505 km 1.050-m gauge (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7,500 km
paved: 7,500 km (2004)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 25 ships (1000 GRT or over) 346,698 GRT/501,060 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 9, container 2, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 11 (UAE 11)
registered in other countries: 15 (Bahamas 2, Panama 13) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Al 'Aqabah
   Military    Jordan Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
males age 17-49: 1,573,995
females age 17-49: 1,346,642 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 17-49: 1,348,076
females age 17-49: 1,158,011 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 60,625
females age 17-49: 58,218 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11.4% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Jordan Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
2004 Agreement settles border dispute with Syria pending demarcation
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 1,827,877 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 168,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2005)

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

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