macrohistory & world report

Hashemite Kingdom Jordan

Map of Jordan

Jordan (capital Amman) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Jordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit. Since assuming the throne in 1999, King Abdallah has implemented significant economic reforms, such as opening the trade regime, privatizing state-owned companies, and eliminating some fuel subsidies, which in the last decade spurred economic growth by attracting foreign investment and creating some jobs. The global economic slowdown and regional turmoil, however, have depressed Jordan's GDP growth, impacting export-oriented sectors, construction, and tourism. In 2011 and 2012, the government approved two economic relief packages and a budgetary supplement, meant to improve the living conditions for the middle and poor classes. Jordan's finances have also been strained by a series of natural gas pipeline attacks in Egypt, causing Jordan to substitute more expensive diesel imports, primarily from Saudi Arabia, to generate electricity... Jordan depended heavily on foreign assistance to finance the budget deficit, as the influx of about 600,000 Syrian refugees put additional pressure on expenditures."

Economic growth rate:
2011: 2.5%
2010: 2.5%
2009: 5.5%

Unemployment rate
2011: 12.3%
2010: 12.5%

Public debt:
2011: 60.7

Jordan produces no oil.

Export commodities
Clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphates, vegetables, pharmaceuticals

Export partners
2010: US 15.6%, Iraq 15.4%, India 13.2%, Saudi Arabia 10.6%, UAE 4.3%, Syria 4%

2010: exports $8.066 billion, imports $14.01 billion

clothing, phosphates, fertilizers, potash, vegetables, manufactures, pharmaceuticals. Largest export partner the United States, at 21 percent.

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 60th among 141 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 4.6% of GDP


July 2014: 7,930,491

Births / deaths
2014: 25.23 / 3.8

Infant mortality rate
2014: 15.73 deaths/1,000 live births

Average life expectancy at birth:
2014: 74.1 years

Density in 2005: 2,345 persons per square kilometer of arable land.

Before 1948 Jordan's population was largely Bedouin. Today the Bedouin's are outnumbered by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

2001: Sunni Muslim 92% (official), Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations)

Net migration rate
2012: Net loss of 33.42 persons per 1,000 population per year.


East of Israel, south of Syria, southwest of Iraq, west and north of Saudi Arabia. 26 kilometers of coastline on the Gulf of Acaba.

Government and Recent History

(As of May 2014) Chief of state: Abdullah II (constitutional monarch, House of Hashim) since 7 February 1999. Head of government: Abdullah Ensour (prime minister) since 10 October 2012, Sunni Muslim, academic background.

Bicameral National: the Senate, also called the House of Notables, has 60 seats, with members appointed by the monarch to serve four-year terms; the Chamber of Deputies, also called the House of Representatives, has 120 seats with members elected using a single, non-transferable vote system in multi-member districts to serve four-year terms. An electoral law enacted in May 2010 allocated an additional 10 seats in the House, six seats added to the number reserved for women, bringing the seats for women to a total of 12. Nine seats are reserved for Christian candidates, 9 for Bedouin candidates, and 3 for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent.

Capital: Amman.

Recent History

In 1989 King Hussein reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization. In1994 he signed a peace treaty with Israel. Following King Hussein's death in 1999 he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah II.

Factbook: "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."

February 6, 2011, Tom Friedman wrote in the New York Times: "I have not been to Jordan for a while, but my ears are ringing today with complaints about corruption, frustration with the king and queen, and disgust at the enormous gaps between rich and poor... Jordan is not going to blow up --today." Friedman writes of Jordan being balanced between East Bank Bedouin tribes and West Bank Palestinians, who fought a civil war in 1970. Friedman writes: "'There is no way that the East Bankers would join with the Palestinians to topple the Hashemite monarchy,' a retired Jordanian general remarked to me. But this balance also makes reform difficult." Friedman continues: "The East Bankers overwhelmingly staff the army and government jobs. They prefer the welfare state, and hate both 'privatization' and what they call 'the digitals,' the young Jordanian techies pushing for reform. The Palestinians dominate commerce but also greatly value the stability the Hashemite monarchy provides."

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.