Iraq, or ancient Mesopotamia, is renowned by many as the cradle of civilisation.
Many early cultures and cities, Sumeria, Akkadia, Assyria, Babylon, Ur and Nineveh,
to name but a few, being established in the ancestral country known as the 'land
of the two rivers.'
Over the last few decades, the people of Iraq have suffered the consequences of
economic stagnation and reduced access to essential services due to wars, sanctions
and conflicts. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party in 2003, modern
day Iraq has slowly emerged as a democratic state. Dismantling a repressive dictatorship
and replacing it with a democracy, in a country with such a rich history, was a
Iraq’s population tripled between 1970 and 2007. Today its population stands at
approximately 32 million,
out of which 5 million people live in the Kurdistan Region. By 2030, it will grow to almost 50 million.
71% of Iraqis live in urban areas and
13% of these households have more than ten occupants.
Iraq is one of the most youthful countries in the world- nearly 50% of the population is less than 19 years old. The use of technology has increased
rapidly since 2003, 78%
of Iraqis use mobile telephones and
12% own a personal computer. With the rise of technology, and the right
investments, Iraq can harness the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of its youth.
Family, religious community, tribe, village and ethnic group are the social entities enjoying
higher levels of confidence by citizens. In a range from 0 (no confidence) to 10
(very strong confidence), households rated a degree of confidence in selected social
entities, religious leaders scored
8 while the foreign forces scored
19% of the population has
engaged in a form of social or political activity such as signing a petition, participating
in a demonstration or rally in the last 12 months.
75% Iraqis identified the
need to reduce the country’s poverty as the most pressing need.
12% all Iraqis who had
contacts with civil servants gave a bribe.
95% of bribery incidents
54% of the population believes
that the corruption situation has deteriorated during the last two years before
Read factsheet on governance in Iraq
Unemployment rate is 11%
nationally (7% of males
and 13% of females). 653,000
people are unemployed, of which 496,000 are male and 157,000 are female.
44% of Iraqis (7.9 million
persons) are in the labour force (using relaxed definition). 72% of males are in the labour force and just 13% of females.
Youth (15-24 years) unemployment is high at
18% (27% of
females and 17% of males),
unemployment is higher among youth with a higher education.
The government provides 40%
of jobs; the remainder is in the private sector. It provides 45% of all employment in urban areas and 28% of employment in rural areas. While accounting
for 65% of Iraq’s GDP the
oil sector currently employs only
1% of the total labour force.
60% of all working females
are working in the government sector.
Overall, 1 out of 6 persons
in the labour force is a woman.
Read fact sheet on labour in Iraq
35% of households believe
that electricity should be the top priority for improvement – a higher proportion
than any other service.
On average households receive 14.6
hours of electricity per day through a combination of the public network
or private generators.
90% of households supplement
the public network with private generators.
sheet on electricity in Iraq
Water and Sanitation
59% rate their household’s
facility as “bad” or “very bad”, rising to
85% in rural areas.
20% of households in Iraq
use an unsafe drinking water source.
There are 2,400 m3 of water
per person per year, with the exception of Turkey, Iraqis have more water available
than their neighbours.
38% of households rate
availability of drinking water as “good” or “very good”.
30% of households has access
to the public sanitation network.
Households without access to the public network use either a septic tank (40%) or covered drain (25%)
to dispose waste.
65% of households use public
networks as a main source of drinking water.
92% of total freshwater
is used for irrigation and food production.
The Marshlands, in the south of Iraq are the largest wetlands in the southwest Asia
and are recognized as one of the world’s most exceptional ecosystems.
Read fact sheet on water in Iraq
The average household is just over
20 minutes away from the health facility.
2 out of 3 Iraqis have
a negative opinion of health services
Read fact sheet on essential services in Iraq
The proportion of children dying within the first year of life has dropped from
50 to 35 for every
1,000 live births.
The proportion of births attended by skilled personnel has risen considerably from
50% in 1999 to 89% in 2006.
For information on Iraq’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development
Goals read our booklet http://iq.one.un.org/MDGs-in-Iraq
Oil and Gas
The oil industry dominates the Iraqi economy.
Oil contributes 60% of
GDP, 99%of exports and
over 90%of Government revenue.
Iraq has 143 billion barrels
of oil reserves and a potential further
200 billion barrels identified and recoverable.
Iraq will become the world’s oil superpower with the ability to influence markets
on a global scale.
Iraq currently produces 2.6 million
barrels of oil per day: 2 million
are exported, 400,000 are
refined and 70,000 are
used for electric fuel generation.
Iraq has 3,100 billion
standard cubic metres of gas reserves.
Read fact sheet on oil and gas in Iraq
1.6 million people in Iraq are affected by landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs).
UNDP supported the Government and mine action organizations to clear explosive remnants of war from 18.7 million square meters of land helping 1,500 families return to their farms and getting 2,400 children back to school.
Iraq is the fifth highest country for the amount of land cleared of landmine contamination.
Read fact sheet on landmines in Iraq