About Jordan

For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King HUSSEIN (1953-1999). 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, through several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he resumed parliamentary elections and gradually permitted political liberalization; in 1994 a formal peace treaty was signed 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 established his domestic priorities, including an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in January 2000, and signed free trade agreements with the United States in 2000, and with the European Free Trade Association in 2001.

Location Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates 31 00 N, 36 00 E

Map references Middle East

Area total: 89,318 sq km water: 540 sq km land: 88,778 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

Coastline 26 km

Maritime claims territorial sea: 3 NM

Climate mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)

Terrain 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 -416m highest point: Jebal Om Dami 1,854 m

Natural resources phosphates, potash, shale oil

Land use arable land: 2.87% permanent crops: 1.52% other: 95.61% (1998 est.)

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, Nuclear Test Ban, 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


Population 6,113,000

Age structure 0-14 years: 37.3% (male1,171,550; female 1,110,160) 15-64 years: 59.5% (male 1,879,560; female 1,754,390) 65 years and over : 3.2% (male 99,890; female 97,450) 

Population growth rate 2.2% (2002 est.)

Birth rate 24.58 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate 2.62 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate 6.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.14 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate 19.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth total population: 77.71 years female: 80.3 years (2002 est.) male: 75.26 years

Total fertility rate 3.15 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.02% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS NA HIV/AIDS - deaths NA

Nationality noun: Jordanian(s) adjective: Jordanian

Ethnic groups Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%

Languages Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes


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

Capital Amman

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

Independence 25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday Independence Day, 25 May (1946)

Constitution 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

Suffrage 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999);

head of government: Prime Minister Awn Al-Khasawnehcabinet:

Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch

Elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch


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 significant headway with privatization. The government also has liberalized the trade regime sufficiently to secure Jordan's membership in the WTrO (2000), an association agreement with the EU (2000), and a free trade accord with US (2000). These measures have helped improve productivity and have put Jordan on the foreign investment map. The substantial trade deficit is covered by tourism receipts, worker remittances, and foreign assistance. Ongoing challenges include fiscal adjustment to reduce the budget deficit and broader investment incentives to promote job-creating ventures.

GDP purchasing power parity - $26.5 billion 

GDP - real growth rate 2.6% 

GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $4,322

GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 2.9% industry: 16.7% services: 80.4%

Population below poverty line 14%

Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 3% highest 10%: 30% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 36 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 4.4% 

Labor force 1.4 million note: in addition, at least 300,000 workers are employed abroad (2001)

Labor force - by occupation services 87.6%, industry 10.4%, agriculture 2%

Unemployment rate 12.1%

Budget revenues: $6.5 billion expenditures: $8 billion, including capital expenditures of $961.4 million

Industries phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, potash, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, tourism

Industrial production growth rate -3.1%

Electricity - production 7805.5 billion kWh (2010)

Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 99% hydro: 1% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption 12,843 kWh (2010)

Agriculture - products Wheat, barley, citrus, tomatoes, melons, olives; sheep, goats, poultry

Exports $2.5 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Exports - commodities phosphates, fertilizers, potash, agricultural products, manufactures, pharmaceuticals

Exports - partners India 11.4%, US 9.6%, Saudi Arabia 5.6%, Israel 3.7% (2001)

Imports $4.4 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Imports - commodities crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, food, live animals, manufactured goods

Imports - partners Germany 8.8%, US 7.8%, Italy 5.6%, France 5.5% (2001)

Debt - external $8.2 billion (2002 est.) Economic aid - recipient ODA, $600 million (2000 est.)

Currency Jordanian dinar (JOD) Currency code JOD Exchange rates Jordanian dinars per US dollar - 0.7090 (1996-present ) note: since May 1989, the Jordanian dinar has been pegged to a group of currencies

Fiscal year calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use 403,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular 11,500 (1995)

Telephone system general assessment: service has improved recently with the 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: 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)

Radios 1.66 million (1997) Television broadcast stations 20 (plus 96 repeaters) (1995)

Televisions 500,000 (1997) Internet country code .jo

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 5 (2000) Internet users 212,000 (2002)


Railways total: 677 km narrow gauge: 677 km 1.050-m gauge (2001)

Highways total: 8,000 km paved: 8,000 km unpaved: 0 km (2000 est.)

Waterways none

Pipelines crude oil 209 km; note - may not be in use

Ports and harbors Al 'Aqabah

Merchant marine total: 7 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 41,206 GRT/53,401 DWT ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 3, container 1, roll on/roll off 2 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Greece 6 (2002 est.) Airports 18 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways total: 15 over 3,047 m: 7 2,438 to 3,047 m: 6 under 914 m: 1 (2002) 914 to 1,523 m: 1 Airports - with unpaved runways total: 2 under 914 m: 2 (2002) Heliports 2 (2002)


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 18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 1,517,751 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 1,073,991 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually males: 57,131 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure $757.5 million (FY01) Military expenditures - percent of GDP 8.6% (FY01)