country profile - JORDAN
Background: Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations awarded Britain the mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain demarcated a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s. The area gained its independence in 1946 and thereafter became The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The country's long-time ruler, King HUSSEIN (1953-99), successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population. Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. King HUSSEIN in 1988 permanently relinquished Jordanian claims to the West Bank; in 1994 he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, King HUSSEIN's eldest son, assumed the throne following his father's death in 1999. He implemented modest political and economic reforms, but in the wake of the "Arab Revolution" across the Middle East, Jordanians continue to press for further political liberalization, government reforms, and economic improvements. In January 2014, Jordan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2014-15 term.
geography  
Location: Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Area: total: 89,342 sq km
land: 88,802 sq km
water: 540 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 1,744 km
border countries (5): Iraq 179 km, Israel 307 km, Saudi Arabia 731 km, Syria 379 km, West Bank 148 km
Coastline: 26 km
Climate: mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)
Natural resources: phosphates, potash, shale oil
people  
Population: 8,117,564
note: increased estimate reflects revised assumptions about the net migration rate due to the increased flow of Syrian refugees (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.42% (male 1,474,464/female 1,400,926)
15-24 years: 20.25% (male 840,714/female 803,237)
25-54 years: 36.12% (male 1,468,388/female 1,463,452)
55-64 years: 4.3% (male 169,857/female 179,275)
65 years and over: 3.91% (male 149,207/female 168,044) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 22 years
male: 21.7 years
female: 22.4 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.83% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 25.37 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 3.79 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate -13.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian
Ethnic groups: Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
Religions: Muslim 97.2% (official; predominantly Sunni), Christian 2.2% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), Buddhist 0.4%, Hindu 0.1%, Jewish <.1, folk religion <.1, unaffiliated <.1, other <.1 (2010 est.)
Languages: Arabic (official), English (widely understood among upper and middle classes)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.4%
male: 97.7%
female: 92.9% (2015 est.)
government  
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
Capital: 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: 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)
Legal system: mixed legal system of civil law and Islamic religious law; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Crown Prince HUSSEIN (born 28 June 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH II
head of government: Prime Minister Abdullah NSOUR (since 11 October 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, or the House of Notables or Majlis al-Ayan (60 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve 4-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwaab (150 seats; 108 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 27 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote, and 15 seats reserved for women; members serve 4-year terms); note - the electoral law enacted in July 2012 allocated an additional 10 seats - 6 for women, 2 for Amman, and 1 seat each for the cities of Zarqa and Irbid; unchanged are 9 seats reserved for Christian candidates, 9 for Bedouin candidates, and 3 for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 23 January 2013 (next election 2017); note - the King dissolved the previous Chamber of Deputies in November 2012, midway through the parliamentary term
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - 27 elected on closed national list to include: Islamic Centrist Party 3, Nation 2, National Union 2, Stronger Jordan 2, Ahl al-Himma 1, Al-Bayyan 1, Citizenship 1, Construction 1, Cooperation 1, Dawn 1, Dignity 1, Free Voice 1, Labor and Trade 1, National Accord Youth Block 1, National Action 1, National Current 1 (member resigned in February 2013), National Unity 1, Nobel Jerusalem 1, Salvation 1, The People 1, Unified Front 1, Voice of Nation 1; other 123; note - the IAF boycotted the election
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (consists of 7 judges including the chief justice; 7-judge panels for important cases and 5 judge panels for most appeals cases)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the king; other judges nominated by the Higher Judicial Council and approved by the king; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; magistrate courts; courts of first instance; religious courts; State Security Court
Political parties and leaders: Ahl al-Himma
Al-Bayyan
Al-Hayah Jordanian Party [Zahier AMR]
Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party [Akram al-HIMSI]
Ba'ath Arab Progressive Party [Fuad DABBOUR]
Citizenship
Construction
Cooperation
Dawn
Democratic People's Party [Ablah ABU ULBAH]
Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'id DIAB]
Dignity
Du'a Party [Muhammed ABU BAKR]
Free Voice
Islamic Action Front or IAF [Hamzah MANSOUR]
Islamic Centrist Party [Muhammad al-HAJ]
Jordanian Communist Party [Munir HAMARNAH]
Jordanian National Party [Muna ABU BAKR]
Jordanian United Front [Amjad al-MAJALI]
Labor and Trade
Nation
National Accord Youth Block
National Action
National Constitution Party [Ahmad al-SHUNAQ]
National Current Party [Abd al-Hadi al-MAJALI]
National Movement for Direct Democracy [Muhammad al-QAQ]
National Union
National Unity
Nobel Jerusalem
Risalah Party [Hazem QASHOU]
Salvation
Stronger Jordan
The Direct Democratic Nationalists Movement Party [Nash'at KHALIFAH]
The People
Unified Front
United Front
Voice of the Nation
Political pressure groups and leaders: 15 April Movement [Mohammad SUNEID, chairman]
24 March Movement [Mu'az al-KHAWALIDAH, Abdel Rahman HASANEIN, spokespersons]
1952 Constitution Movement
Anti-Normalization Committee [Hamzah MANSOUR, chairman]
Economic and Social Association of Retired Servicemen and Veterans or ESARSV [Abdulsalam al-HASSANAT, chairman]
Group of 36
Higher Coordination Committee of Opposition Parties [Said DIAB]
Higher National Committee for Military Retirees or HNCMR [Ali al-HABASHNEH, chairman]
Hirak
Jordan Bar Association [Saleh al-ARMUTI, chairman]
Jordanian Campaign for Change or Jayin
Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood [Dr. Hamam SAID, controller general]
Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]
National Front for Reform or NFR [Ahmad OBEIDAT, chairman]
Popular Gathering for Reform
Professional Associations Council [Abd al-Hadi al-FALAHAT, chairman]
Sons of Jordan
International organization participation: ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CD, CICA, EBRD, FAO, G-11, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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
communications  
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 380,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 11.1 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 140 (2014 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: service has improved recently with increased use of digital switching equipment; microwave radio relay transmission and coaxial and fiber-optic cable are employed on trunk lines; growing mobile-cellular usage in both urban and rural areas is reducing use of fixed-line services
domestic: 1995 telecommunications law opened all non-fixed-line services to private competition; in 2005, monopoly over fixed-line services terminated and the entire telecommunications sector was opened to competition; currently multiple mobile-cellular providers with subscribership reaching 115 per 100 persons in 2011
international: country code - 962; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) FEA and FLAG Falcon submarine cable networks; satellite earth stations - 33 (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; participant in Medarabtel (2011)
Broadcast media: radio and TV dominated by the government-owned Jordan Radio and Television Corporation (JRTV) that operates a main network, a sports network, a film network, and a satellite channel; first independent TV broadcaster aired in 2007; international satellite TV and Israeli and Syrian TV broadcasts are available; roughly 30 radio stations with JRTV operating the main government-owned station; transmissions of multiple international radio broadcasters are available (2007)
Internet country code: .jo
Internet hosts: 69,473 (2012)
Internet users: total: 3.6 million
percent of population: 45.0% (2014 est.)
transportation  
Airports: 18 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 16
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Heliports: 1 (2012)
Pipelines: gas 473 km; oil 49 km (2013)
Railways: total: 507 km
narrow gauge: 507 km 1.050-m gauge (2008)
Roadways: total: 7,203 km
paved: 7,203 km (2011)
Merchant marine: total: 12
country comparison to the world: 107
by type: cargo 4, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 2 (UAE 2)
registered in other countries: 16 (Bahamas 2, Egypt 2, Indonesia 1, Panama 11) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Al 'Aqabah
transnational issues  
Disputes - international: approximately two million Iraqis have fled the conflict in Iraq, with the majority taking refuge in Syria and Jordan; 2004 Agreement settles border dispute with Syria pending demarcation
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 2,097,338 (Palestinian refugees (UNRWA)) (2014); 629,627 (Syria); 51,105 (Iraq) (2015)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Jordan is a destination and transit country for women and men from South and Southeast Asia trafficked for the purpose of forced labor; Jordan is also a destination for women from Eastern Europe and Morocco for prostitution; women from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines migrate willingly to work as domestic servants, but some are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Jordan is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007, particularly in the area of law enforcement against trafficking for forced labor; the government made minimal efforts to investigate or prosecute numerous allegations related to exploitation of foreign domestic workers; Jordan failed for a second year to criminally prosecute and punish those who committed acts of forced labor; Jordan also continues to lack victim protection services; Jordan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/jo.html