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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

Map of Jordan

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Jordan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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 gradual 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 April 2005 declared they would build upon the previous government's achievements to respect political and human rights and improve living standards.
   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: 2.67%
permanent crops: 1.83%
other: 95.5% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
750 sq km (1998 est.)
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
5,759,732 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 34.5% (male 1,015,084/female 973,220)
15-64 years: 61.7% (male 1,897,643/female 1,656,570)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 106,168/female 111,047) (2005 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 22.62 years
male: 23.25 years
female: 21.94 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.56% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.76 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.63 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 17.35 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 78.24 years
male: 75.75 years
female: 80.88 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.71 children born/woman (2005 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
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 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), son of King ABDALLAH, is first in line to inherit the throne
head of government: Prime Minister Adnan BADRAN (since 7 April 2005); Deputy Prime Ministers Marwan al-MUASHER and Hisham al-TEL (since 3 July 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 NA 2007)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - independents and others 89.6%, Islamic Action Front (IAF) 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
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
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Court of Cassation; Supreme Court (court of final appeal)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Al-Ajyal [Muhammad KHALAYLEH, secretary general]; Al-Umma (Nation) Party [Ahmad al-HANANDEH, secretary general]; Arab Land Party [Dr. Ayishah Salih HIJAZAYN, secretary general]; Ba'th Arab Progressive Party [Fu'ad DABBUR, secretary general]; Communist Party [Munir HAMARINAH, secretary general]; Constitutional National Party [Ahmad al-SHUNNAQ, secretary general; Democratic Arab Islamic Movement [Yusuf ABU BAKR, president]; Green Party [Muhammad BATAYNEH, secretary general]; Islamic Action Front [Hazma MANSOUR, secretary general]; Islamic al-Walsat Party [Marwan al-FAURI], secretary general; Jordanian Democratic Left Party [Musa MA'AYTEH, secretary general]; Jordanian Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'id Dhiyab Ali MUSTAFA, secretary general]; Jordanian People's Democratic (Hashd) Party [Ahmad YUSUF, secretary general]; Jordanian Progressive Party [Fawwaz al-ZUBI, secretary general]; Labor Party [Dr. Mazin Sulayman Jiryis HANNA, secretary general]; Muslim Centrist Party [leader NA]; National Action (Haqq) Party [Tariq al-KAYYALI, secretary general]; National Constitutional Party [Abdul Hadi MAJALI, secretary general]; National Movement for Direct Democracy [Mahmud al-NUWAYHI, secretary general]; Pan-Arab (Democratic) Movement [Mahmud al-NUWAYHI, secretary general]; (Arab) Socialist Ba'th Party [Taysir al-HIMSI, secretary general]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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:
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 (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:
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 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 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 forcing 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
$25.5 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $4,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 26%
services: 71.5% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.41 million (2004 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% (2004 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
3.2% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $3.483 billion
expenditures: $3.616 billion, including capital expenditures of $782 million (2004 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
85.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, citrus, tomatoes, melons, olives; sheep, goats, poultry
Definition Field Listing
phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, potash, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.307 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.094 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
2 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
300 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
40 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
103,000 bbl/day (2004 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
290 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
290 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.256 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$203.2 million (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.2 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
clothing, phosphates, fertilizers, potash, vegetables, manufactures, pharmaceuticals
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 28.9%, Iraq 17.6%, India 7.1%, Saudi Arabia 5.6% (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$7.6 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil, textile fabrics, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Saudi Arabia 19.8%, China 8.4%, Germany 6.8%, US 6.8% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.457 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$7.32 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $500 million (2004 est.)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Jordanian dinars per US dollar - 0.709 (2004), 0.709 (2003), 0.709 (2002), 0.709 (2001), 0.709 (2000)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Jordan Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
622,600 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,325,300 (2003)
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
3,160 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
457,000 (2003)
   Transportation    Jordan Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 505 km
narrow gauge: 505 km 1.050-m gauge (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7,301 km
paved: 7,301 km
unpaved: 0 km (2002)
Definition Field Listing
gas 10 km; oil 743 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Al 'Aqabah
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 20 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 78,814 GRT/92,695 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 7, container 2, passenger/cargo 5, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 12 (Greece 3, UAE 9)
registered in other countries: 14 (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17 (2004 est.)
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 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
1 (2004 est.)
   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, and Special Operations Command (SOCOM); note - Public Security Directorate normally falls under Ministry of Interior but comes under JAF in wartime or crisis situations
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 (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 17-49: 1,573,995 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 17-49: 1,348,076 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 60,625 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.46 billion (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.6% (2004)
   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): 1,740,170 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 800,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2004)

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

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