Jordanian People

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Jordan, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Population in Jordan[1]
Year Million
1971 1.57
1980 2.18
1990 3.17
2000 4.80
2004 5.29
2008 5.91
Source: OECD/World Bank

According to the OECD/World Bank, the Jordanian population increased from 1990 to 2008 by 2.7 million: an 86% growth in population, compared to 39% growth in Lebanon, 56% growth in Israel, 67% growth in Syria [1] and according to the U.S. Census 106% growth in the .[2]

Native Jordanians are mostly descended from village-dwellers and Bedouins originating in the Arabian Peninsula.[3] In addition, there are Jordanian minorities including the Circassians, Chechens, Arameans and Armenians. However, there are a number of other ethnicities present, including communities of Kurds, Assyrians and Mandeans who are refugees from the 2003 Iraqi war.

According to UNRWA, there are more than two million Palestinian refugees in Jordan as of January 2012.[4] Though that number does not include all Jordanians of Palestinian descent. There are also approximately one million Iraqis currently residing in the country.

Also, hundreds of thousands of guest workers from Egypt, Syria, Indonesia, and South Asia work as domestic and construction employees. Also, there are a few thousand residents of Lebanese origin who came to Jordan when civil strife and war broke out in their native country. They primarily reside in Amman. The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government. About 70% of Jordan's population is urban; less than 6% of the rural population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. Most people live where the rainfall supports agriculture.


The territory of Jordan can be defined by the history of its creation after the end of World War I, the League of Nations and redrawing of the borders of the Eastern Mediterranean littoral. The ensuing decisions, most notably the Sykes–Picot Agreement, which created the British Mandate of Palestine. In September 1922, Transjordan was formally identified as a subdivision of the Mandate Palestine after the League of Nations approved the British Transjordan memorandum which stated that the Mandate east of the River Jordan would be excluded from all the provisions dealing with Jewish settlement west of the Jordan River.[5] Two other events in the history of Jordan affected its demographics, the outcomes of the 1948 and the 1967 conflicts with Israel.

Vital statistics

UN estimates[6]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR1 CDR1 NC1 TFR1 IMR1
1950–1955 26 000 11 000 15 000 47.4 19.3 28.1 7.38 160.9
1955–1960 38 000 13 000 25 000 49.4 16.5 32.9 7.38 128.9
1960–1965 54 000 15 000 40 000 53.6 14.5 39.1 8.00 103.2
1965–1970 73 000 16 000 57 000 52.3 11.8 40.5 8.00 82.8
1970–1975 90 000 17 000 73 000 49.0 9.4 39.6 7.79 68.3
1975–1980 92 000 16 000 76 000 42.8 7.5 35.3 7.38 56.5
1980–1985 101 000 17 000 85 000 39.7 6.5 33.2 7.05 44.4
1985–1990 117 000 18 000 99 000 37.5 5.7 31.8 6.44 36.0
1990–1995 132 000 19 000 113 000 33.9 4.9 29.0 5.14 30.6
1995–2000 147 000 21 000 127 000 32.0 4.5 27.5 4.34 26.7
2000–2005 143 000 21 000 122 000 28.1 4.2 23.9 3.60 23.6
2005–2010 152 000 23 000 128 000 26.4 4.1 22.3 3.27 21.0
1 CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births

Registered births and deaths[7]

Average population Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total fertility rate (TFR)
2007 185 011 20 924 164 087 32.3
2008 181 328 19 403 161 925 31.0
2009 179 872 20 251 159 621 30.1
2010 183 948 21 550 162 398 30.1
2011 178 435 21 730 156 705

Ethnic and religious groups

Muslim (Sunni) 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, with some Greek Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shi'a Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.) Ethnically, The Circassians and Chechens form more than 3% of the population.

In the 2004 Census including: Assyrians and Syriacs 5%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%. Non-Jordanians accounted for 349.933 (7%) of the population.


Most of the Arabic citizens in Jordan are villagers. There were some 56,000 Bedouin Jordanians at the turn of the 20th century on the plain east of Jordan, even after the First World War Amman was only a village of a few thousand residents,[8] many recent immigrants from the coastal areas of the Ottoman Syria where most of the fighting took place. By 1956 of the 1.5 million population, 200,000 were residing in Amman.[8] Following the 1948 war, and seizure of what later came to be known as the "West Bank", the citizens of Transjordan numbered about 1,185,000: 375,000 Transjordanians, 460,000 former residents of Mandate Palestine and 350,000 refugees from other former Mandate Palestine areas.[9] Of the 100,000 estimated Transjordanians on the West Bank, about half had migrated elsewhere by early 1950s.[10] In 2004 ethnic Arabs represented 93% of the population.


There is an Assyrian population in Jordan. Many Assyrians have arrived in Jordan since the invasion of Iraq, making up a large part of the Iraqi refuguees.


Armenians in Jordan are ethnic Armenians living within the current Kingdom of Jordan. There were an estimated 5,000 Armenians living within the country in 2009.[11] An estimated 4,500 of these are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church,[11] and predominantly speak the Western dialect[12] of the Armenian language. This population makes up the majority of non-Arab Christians in the country.[13]


Circassians obtained Ottoman citizenships since 1887, immigrated to Jordan and they selected Amman.[14] They settled in several cities such as Jerash and Zarqa, and established their own village Wadi as-Ser.

The Adyghes Circassians played a role in the history of Transjordan era, and are famous for their loyalty to Abdullah I of Jordan and his family, obtaining the Transjordan citizenship in the law of citizenship that was issued in 1928,[15] while other tribes obtained their citizenship in 1930 or later[16]

Over the years various Adyghes have served in distinguished roles in the Kingdom of Jordan, including a prime minister (Sa`id al-Mufti), ministers, high-ranking officers, etc. Adyghe form the Hashemites Honor guard at the Royal palaces, and represented Jordan in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2010, joining other Honor guards such as the The Airborne Ceremonial Unit.[17][18] The Circassians are Sunni Muslims estimated to number 120,000 persons, or 2% of Jordanian population, while accounting for 5% of Amman's residents.


Until recently most Mandaeans were Iraqi, but this religious minority fled the country in the face of this violence, and the Mandaean community in Iraq faces extinction.[19] Out of the over 60,000 Mandaeans in Iraq in the early 1990s, only about 5,000 to 7,000 remain there; as of early 2007, over 80% of Iraqi Mandaeans were refugees in Syria and Jordan as a result of the Iraq War.


There are about 10,000 Chechens estimated to reside in Jordan.


The era of King Hussein saw increased school enrollment rates, which resulted in a rapid rise in the literacy rate in Jordan. At the beginning of his reign in 1952 the literacy rate was 33% and grew to 85% in 1996; according to the 2009 estimate, it is now 94% of the total population.[20]

Population demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Total population

6,198,677 (July 2008 est.)
6,508,887 (July 2012 est.)

Gender ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2012 est.)

Age Structure

0–14 years: 32.2% (male 1,017,233/female 976,284)
15–64 years: 62.4% (male 2,110,293/female 1,840,531)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 122,975/female 131,361) (2008 est.)
0-14 years: 35.3% (male 1,180,595/female 1,114,533)
15-64 years: 59.9% (male 1,977,075/female 1,921,504)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 153,918/female 160,646) (2011 est.)

Median age

total: 22.6 years
male: 22.2 years
female: 22.9 years (2013 est.)

Population Growth Rate

2.338% (2008 est.)
-0.965% (2012 est.)

Birth Rate

26.52 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death Rate

2.74 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate

5.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
-33.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)


urban population: 82.7% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.17% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

63 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate

15.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.18 years
male: 78.82 years
female: 81.61 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.36 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures

8.0% of GDP (2010)

Physicians density

2.45 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density

1.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

30% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight



Arabic is the official language of Jordan. English is widely understood among the educated and the upper and middle classes.


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 95.8%
female: 93% (2010 est.)

Jordanian demographic policy

Initial integration of former residents of Mandate Palestine, and granting them citizenship, was revoked following violence against PLO in 1970. Most Iraqi refugees are not granted citizenship.

See also


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