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Flag of Jordan
Map of Jordan
Introduction Jordan
For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic ruler, 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 gradually political liberalization; in 1994 he signed a formal peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II - the eldest son of King HUSSEIN and Princess MUNA - 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 and government appointed in October 2003 declared their commitment to accelerated economic and political reforms and the new cabinet includes an unprecedented three women as ministers.
Geography Jordan
Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:
31 00 N, 36 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 92,300 sq km
water: 329 sq km
land: 91,971 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 Ram 1,734 m
Natural resources:
phosphates, potash, shale oil
Land use:
arable land: 2.67%
permanent crops: 1.83%
other: 95.5% (2001)
Irrigated land:
750 sq km (1998 est.)
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
5,611,202 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.2% (male 1,009,604; female 967,645)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 1,829,984; female 1,598,141)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 100,896; female 104,932) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 22.2 years
male: 22.8 years
female: 21.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.67% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
22.73 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
2.62 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
6.59 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
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: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.11 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 21.63 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.06 years
male: 75.59 years
female: 80.69 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.86 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 1,000
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
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 Shi'a 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: 91.3%
male: 95.9%
female: 86.3% (2003 est.)
Government Jordan
Country name:
conventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
conventional short form: Jordan
local short form: Al Urdun
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah
former: Transjordan
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
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)
8 January 1952
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 HAMZAH (half brother of the monarch, born 29 March 1980)
head of government: Prime Minister Faisal al-FAYEZ (since 25 October 2003)
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 (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 NA 2007)
note: the House of Representatives has been convened and dissolved by the monarch several times since 1974; in November 1989, the first parliamentary elections in 22 years were held; political parties were not legalized until 1992; King ABDALLAH delayed the 2001 elections until 2003
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - independents and others 89.6%, Islamic Action Front 10.4%; seats by party - independents and others 92, Islamic Action Front 18; note - one of the six quota seats was given to a female IAF candidate
Judicial branch:
Court of Cassation; Supreme Court (court of final appeal)
Political parties and leaders:
Al-Umma (Nation) Party [Ahmad al-HANANDEH, secretary general]; Arab Land Party [Dr. Muhammad al-'ORAN, secretary general]; Communist Party [Munir HAMARINAH, secretary general]; Constitutional Front [Mahdi al-TALL, secretary general]; Jordanian Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'id DHIYAB, secretary general]; Jordanian Progressive Party [Fawwaz al-ZUBI, secretary general]; Jordanian People's Democratic (Hashd) Party [Salim al-NAHHAS, secretary general]; Islamic Action Front [Hazma MANSOUR, secretary general]; National Action (Haqq) Party [Muhammad al-ZUBI, secretary general]; National Constitutional Party [Abdul Hadi MAJALI, secretary general]; (Arab) Socialist Ba'th Party [Taysif al-HIMSI, secretary general]; Pan-Arab (Democratic) Movement [Mahmud al-NUWAYHI, secretary general]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Anti-Normalization Committee [Ali Abu SUKKAR, president vice chairman]; Jordanian Bar Association [Saleh ARMOUTI, president]; Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]; Muslim Brotherhood [Abd-al-Majid DHUNAYBAT, secretary general]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Karim Tawfiq KAWAR
chancery: 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3110
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2664
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires 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) 592-0101
FAX: [962] (6) 592-4102
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 Jordan
Economy - overview:
Jordan is a small Arab country with inadequate supplies of water and other natural resources such as oil. 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. 'Amman in the past three years has worked closely with the IMF, practiced careful monetary policy, and made substantial headway with privatization. The government also has liberalized the trade regime sufficiently to secure Jordan's membership in the WTrO (2000), a free trade accord with the US (2000), and an association agreement with the EU (2001). These measures have helped improve productivity and have put Jordan on the foreign investment map. The US-led war in Iraq in 2003 dealt an economic blow to Jordan, which was dependent on Iraq for discounted oil (worth $300-$600 million a year). Several Gulf nations have provided temporary aid to compensate for the loss of this oil; when this foreign aid expires, the Jordanian government has pledged to raise retail petroleum product prices and the sales tax base. Other ongoing challenges include fiscal adjustment to reduce the budget deficit, broader investment incentives to promote job-creating ventures, and the encouragement of tourism.
purchasing power parity - $23.64 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,300 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 29%
services: 67.4% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
18.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
30% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
36.4 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.4% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
1.36 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 5%, industry 12.5%, services 82.5% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
16% official rate; actual rate is 25%-30% (2001 est.)
revenues: $2.397 billion
expenditures: $3.587 billion, including capital expenditures of $582 million (2004 est.)
Public debt:
92.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, citrus, tomatoes, melons, olives; sheep, goats, poultry
phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, potash, light manufacturing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
3.5% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
7.091 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.4%
hydro: 0.6%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
6.86 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
2 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
267 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
40 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
103,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
445,000 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
290 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
290 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
3.256 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
$903 million (2004 est.)
$2.908 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
clothing, phosphates, fertilizers, potash, vegetables, manufactures, pharmaceuticals
Exports - partners:
US 21.5%, Iraq 17.6%, Switzerland 6.5%, India 6.5%, Saudi Arabia 5.3% (2003)
$4.946 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
crude oil, textile fabrics, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 11.3%, China 7.9%, Germany 7.9%, US 6.8%, Iraq 6.5% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$5.364 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$7.683 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
ODA, $553 million (2000 est.)
Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Jordanian dinars per US dollar - 0.709 (2003), 0.709 (2002), 0.709 (2001), 0.709 (2000), 0.709 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Jordan
Telephones - main lines in use:
622,600 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,325,300 (2003)
Telephone system:
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:
AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (1999)
1.66 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
20 (plus 96 repeaters) (1995)
500,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
3,160 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2000)
Internet users:
457,000 (2003)
Transportation Jordan
total: 505 km
narrow gauge: 505 km 1.050-m gauge (2003)
total: 7,245 km
paved: 7,245 km
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
gas 10 km; oil 743 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Al 'Aqabah
Merchant marine:
total: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 78,814 GRT/92,695 DWT
registered in other countries: 11 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: Greece 6
by type: cargo 2, container 1, roll on/roll off 5, short-sea/passenger 1
17 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
914 to 1,523 m: 1
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
1 (2003 est.)
Military Jordan
Military branches:
Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) (Royal Jordanian Land Force, Royal Naval Force, Royal Jordanian Air Force, and Special Operations Command or SOCOM); note - Public Security Directorate normally falls under Ministry of Interior but comes under JAF in wartime or crisis situations
Military manpower - military age:
17 years of age (conscription at age 18 was suspended in 1999, although all males under age 37 are required to register; recruits are accepted from age 17) (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,636,537 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,153,385 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 59,471 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$2,043.2 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
20.2% (2003)
Transnational Issues Jordan
Disputes - international:
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees: 1,740,170 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 800,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2004)

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004