Flag of Jordan

map (opens in new window)


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 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 December 2005 said the government would focus on political reforms, improving conditions for the poor, and fighting corruption.


Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates:

31 00 N, 36 00 E


total: 92,300 sq km
land: 91,971 sq km
water: 329 sq km

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: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)

Irrigated land:

750 sq km (2003)

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


5,906,760 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

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:

total: 23 years
male: 23.7 years
female: 22.4 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.49% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

21.25 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

2.65 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

6.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

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:

total population: 78.4 years
male: 75.9 years
female: 81.05 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.63 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

600 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less 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 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.)

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



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 1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1984

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

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 in 2007)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - independents and other 89.6%, IAF 10.4%; seats by party - independents and other 92, IAF 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:

Court of Cassation; Supreme Court (court of final appeal)

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 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):

$27.86 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$11.61 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.9% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$4,800 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 29.9%
services: 66.7% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

1.46 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 5%
industry: 12.5%
services: 82.5% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:

12.5% official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30% (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):

5% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

20.9% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $2.8 billion
expenditures: $4.688 billion; including capital expenditures of $1.092 billion (2005 est.)

Public debt:

77.7% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

wheat, barley, citrus, tomatoes, melons, olives; sheep, goats, poultry


textiles, phosphate mining, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, potash, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

7.5% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

7.517 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

7.959 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

4 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

972 million kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

40 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - consumption:

103,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - imports:

100,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

445,000 bbl (1 January 2002)

Natural gas - production:

390 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

390 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

6.23 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

Current account balance:

-$1.08 billion (2005 est.)


$4.226 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

clothing, phosphates, fertilizers, potash, vegetables, manufactures, pharmaceuticals

Exports - partners:

US 28.9%, Iraq 17.6%, India 7.1%, Saudi Arabia 5.6% (2004)


$8.681 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

crude oil, textile fabrics, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods

Imports - partners:

Saudi Arabia 19.8%, China 8.4%, Germany 6.8%, US 6.8% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$5.509 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$8.273 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

ODA, $500 million (2004 est.)

Currency (code):

Jordanian dinar (JOD)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

617,300 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

1,594,500 (2004)

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)

Television broadcast stations:

20 (plus 96 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

2,793 (2005)

Internet users:

600,000 (2005)


17 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 15
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2005)


1 (2005)


gas 10 km; oil 743 km (2004)


total: 505 km
narrow gauge: 505 km 1.050-m gauge (2004)


total: 7,364 km
paved: 7,364 km (2003)

Merchant marine:

total: 26 ships (1000 GRT or over) 218,685 GRT/218,795 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 9, container 2, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 6
foreign-owned: 12 (UAE 12)
registered in other countries: 14 (The Bahamas 2, Panama 12) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Al 'Aqabah

Military branches:

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

Disputes - international:

2004 Agreement settles border dispute with Syria pending demarcation

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 1,827,877 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 168,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2005)