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Middle East :: Iraq Print
Page last updated on October 09, 2020
  • Introduction :: Iraq
  • Background field listing

    Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by the United Kingdom during World War I and was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration in 1920. Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. It was proclaimed a "republic" in 1958 after a coup overthrew the monarchy, but in actuality, a series of strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was SADDAM Husayn from 1979 to 2003. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by US-led UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. After Iraq's expulsion, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions led to the Second Gulf War in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime by US-led forces.

    In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives (COR) in December 2005. The COR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century. Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates in January 2009 and April 2013 and postponed the next provincial elections, originally planned for April 2017, until 2019. Iraq has held three national legislative elections since 2005, most recently in May 2018 when 329 legislators were elected to the COR. Adil ABD AL-MAHDI assumed the premiership in October 2018 as a consensus and independent candidate - the first prime minister who is not an active member of a major political bloc. However, widespread protests that began in October 2019 demanding more employment opportunities and an end to corruption prompted ABD AL-MAHDI to announce his resignation on 20 November 2019.

    Between 2014 and 2017, Iraq was engaged in a military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) to recapture territory lost in the western and northern portion of the country. Iraqi and allied forces recaptured Mosul, the country's second-largest city, in 2017 and drove ISIS out of its other urban strongholds. In December 2017, then-Prime Minister Haydar al-ABADI publicly declared victory against ISIS while continuing operations against the group's residual presence in rural areas. Also in late 2017, ABADI responded to an independence referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government by ordering Iraqi forces to take control of disputed territories across central and northern Iraq that were previously occupied and governed by Kurdish forces.

  • Geography :: Iraq
  • Location field listing
    Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    33 00 N, 44 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Middle East
    Area field listing
    total: 438,317 sq km
    land: 437,367 sq km
    water: 950 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 60
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly more than three times the size of New York state
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 3,809 km
    border countries (6): Iran 1599 km, Jordan 179 km, Kuwait 254 km, Saudi Arabia 811 km, Syria 599 km, Turkey 367 km
    Coastline field listing
    58 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    continental shelf: not specified
    Climate field listing
    mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq
    Terrain field listing
    mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 312 m
    lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
    highest point: Cheekha Dar (Kurdish for "Black Tent") 3,611 m
    Natural resources field listing
    petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 18.1% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 8.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.5% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 9.2% (2011 est.)
    forest: 1.9% (2011 est.)
    other: 80% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    35,250 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    population is concentrated in the north, center, and eastern parts of the country, with many of the larger urban agglomerations found along extensive parts of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; much of the western and southern areas are either lightly populated or uninhabited
    Natural hazards field listing
    dust storms; sandstorms; floods
    Environment - current issues field listing
    government water control projects drained most of the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Marsh Arabs, who inhabited these areas for thousands of years, has been displaced; furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area's wildlife populations; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation (salination) and erosion; desertification; military and industrial infrastructure has released heavy metals and other hazardous substances into the air, soil, and groundwater; major sources of environmental damage are effluents from oil refineries, factory and sewage discharges into rivers, fertilizer and chemical contamination of the soil, and industrial air pollution in urban areas
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
    Geography - note field listing
    strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
  • People and Society :: Iraq
  • Population field listing
    38,872,655 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Iraqi(s)
    adjective: Iraqi
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Arab 75-80%, Kurdish 15-20%, other 5% (includes Turkmen, Yezidi, Shabak, Kaka'i, Bedouin, Romani, Assyrian, Circassian, Sabaean-Mandaean, Persian)

    note: data is a 1987 government estimate; no more recent reliable numbers are available

    Languages field listing
    Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen (a Turkish dialect), Syriac (Neo-Aramaic), and Armenian are official in areas where native speakers of these languages constitute a majority of the population
    Religions field listing
    Muslim (official) 95-98% (Shia 64-69%, Sunni 29-34%), Christian 1% (includes Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Assyrian Church of the East), other 1-4% (2015 est.)

    note: while there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, the overall Christian population has decreased at least 50% and perhaps as high as 90% since the fall of the SADDAM Husayn regime in 2003, according to US Embassy estimates, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon

    MENA religious affiliation: PDF
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 37.02% (male 7,349,868/female 7,041,405)
    15-24 years: 19.83% (male 3,918,433/female 3,788,157)
    25-54 years: 35.59% (male 6,919,569/female 6,914,856)
    55-64 years: 4.23% (male 805,397/female 839,137)
    65 years and over: 3.33% (male 576,593/female 719,240) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 69.9
    youth dependency ratio: 64.1
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.9
    potential support ratio: 17.1 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 21.2 years
    male: 20.8 years
    female: 21.6 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Population growth rate field listing
    2.16% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    Birth rate field listing
    25.7 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    Death rate field listing
    3.9 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    Net migration rate field listing
    -0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Population distribution field listing
    population is concentrated in the north, center, and eastern parts of the country, with many of the larger urban agglomerations found along extensive parts of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; much of the western and southern areas are either lightly populated or uninhabited
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 70.9% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 3.06% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    7.144 million BAGHDAD (capital), 1.630 million Mosul, 1.352 million Basra, 1.013 million Kirkuk, 874,000 Najaf, 846,000 Erbil (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    79 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 19.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 20.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 18.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 72.6 years
    male: 70.7 years
    female: 74.6 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Total fertility rate field listing
    3.39 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    52.8% (2018)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 98.8% of population
    rural: 95% of population
    total: 97.9% of population
    unimproved: urban: 1.2% of population
    rural: 5% of population
    total: 2.1% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    4.2% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    0.84 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    1.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 96.7% of population
    rural: 89.7% of population
    total: 95.2% of population
    unimproved: urban: 3.3% of population
    rural: 10.3% of population
    total: 4.8% of population (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: intermediate (2020)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    30.4% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    7.2% (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Education expenditures field listing
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 50.1%
    male: 56.2%
    female: 44% (2018)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 25.6%
    male: 22%
    female: 63.3% (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 48
  • Government :: Iraq
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
    conventional short form: Iraq
    local long form: Jumhuriyat al-Iraq/Komar-i Eraq
    local short form: Al Iraq/Eraq
    former: Mesopotamia, Mandatory Iraq, Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq
    etymology: the name probably derives from "Uruk" (Biblical "Erech"), the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River
    Government type field listing
    federal parliamentary republic
    Capital field listing
    name: Baghdad
    geographic coordinates: 33 20 N, 44 24 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    although the origin of the name is disputed, it likely has compound Persian roots with "bagh" and "dad" meaning "god" and "given" respectively to create the meaning of "bestowed by God"
    Administrative divisions field listing
    18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah (Arabic); parezgakan, singular - parezga (Kurdish)) and 1 region*; Al Anbar; Al Basrah; Al Muthanna; Al Qadisiyah (Ad Diwaniyah); An Najaf; Arbil (Erbil) (Arabic), Hewler (Kurdish); As Sulaymaniyah (Arabic), Slemani (Kurdish); Babil; Baghdad; Dahuk (Arabic), Dihok (Kurdish); Dhi Qar; Diyala; Karbala'; Kirkuk; Kurdistan Regional Government*; Maysan; Ninawa; Salah ad Din; Wasit
    Independence field listing
    3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration); note - on 28 June 2004 the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 3 October (1932); Republic Day, 14 July (1958)
    Constitution field listing
    history: several previous; latest adopted by referendum 15 October 2005
    amendments: proposed by the president of the republic and the Council of Minsters collectively, or by one fifth of the Council of Representatives members; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Council of Representatives, approval by referendum, and ratification by the president; passage of amendments to articles on citizen rights and liberties requires two-thirds majority vote of Council of Representatives members after two successive electoral terms, approval in a referendum, and ratification by the president
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Iraq
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President Barham SALIH (since 2 October 2018); vice presidents (vacant)
    head of government: Prime Minister Mustafa al-KADHIMI (since 7 May 2020)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, approved by Council of Representatives
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Council of Representatives (COR) to serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); COR election last held on 12 May 2018 (next NA)
    election results:

    COR vote in first round - Barham SALIH (PUK) 165, Fuad HUSAYN (KDP) 90; Barham SALIH elected president in second round - Barham SALIH 219, Fuad HUSAYN 22; note - the COR vote on 1 October 2018 failed due to a lack of quorum, and a new session was held on 2 October

    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral Council of Representatives or Majlis an-Nuwwab al-Iraqiyy (329 seats; 320 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open-list proportional representation vote and 9 seats at the national level reserved for minorities - 5 for Christians, 1 each for Sabaean-Mandaeans, Yazidis, Shabaks, Fayli Kurds; 25% of seats allocated to women; members serve 4-year terms); note - Iraq's Constitution calls for the establishment of an upper house, the Federation Council, but it has not been instituted
    elections: last held on 12 May 2018 (next originally scheduled for May 2022, but rescheduled earlier to 6 June 2021)
    election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - NA; seats by party/coalition - Sa'irun Alliance 54, Al Fatah Alliance 48, Al Nasr Alliance 42, KDP 25, State of Law Coalition 25, Wataniyah 21, National Wisdom Trend 19, PUK 18, Iraqi Decision Alliance 14, Anbar Our Identity 6, Goran Movement 5, New Generation 4, other 48; composition - men 245, women 84, percent of women 25.5%
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Federal Supreme Court or FSC (consists of 9 judges); note - court jurisdiction limited to constitutional issues and disputes between regions or governorates and the central government; Court of Cassation (consists of a court president, 5 vice presidents, and at least 24 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Federal Supreme Court and Court of Cassation judges selected by the president of the republic from nominees selected by the Higher Judicial Council (HJC), a 25-member committee of judicial officials that manages the judiciary and prosecutors; FSC members appointed for life; Court of Cassation judges appointed by the HJC and confirmed by the Council of Representatives to serve until retirement nominally at age 63
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (governorate level); civil courts, including first instance, personal status, labor, and customs; criminal courts including felony, misdemeanor, investigative, major crimes, juvenile, and traffic courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing

    Al Fatah Alliance [Hadi al-AMIRI]
    Al Nasr Alliance [Haydar al-ABADI]
    Al Sadiqun Bloc [Adnan al-DULAYMI]
    Al Sa'irun Alliance [Muqtda al-SADR]
    Badr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]
    Da`wa Party [Nuri al-MALIKI]
    Fadilah Party [Muhammad al-YAQUBI]
    Goran Movement [Omar SAYYID ALI]
    Iraqi Communist Party [Hamid Majid MUSA]
    Iraq Decision Alliance [Khamis al-KHANJAR, Usama al-NUJAYFI]
    Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq or ISCI [Humam HAMMUDI]
    Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Masoud BARZANI]
    National Wisdom Trend [Ammar al-HAKIM]
    New Generation Movement [SHASWAR Abd al-Wahid Qadir]
    Our Identity [Muhammad al-HALBUSI]
    Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [KOSRAT Rasul Ali, acting]
    State of Law Coalition [Nuri al MALIKI
    Wataniyah coalition [Ayad ALLAWI]
    numerous smaller religious, local, tribal, and minority parties
    International organization participation field listing
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    Ambassador Farid YASIN (since 18 January 2017)
    chancery: 3421 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007
    telephone: [1] (202) 742-1600
    FAX: [1] (202) 333-1129
    consulate(s) general: Detroit, Los Angeles
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew TUELLER (since 9 June 2019)
    telephone: 0760-030-3000
    embassy: Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad; note - consulate in Al Basrah closed as of 28 September 2018
    mailing address: APO AE 09316
    FAX: NA
    Flag description field listing
    three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great") in green Arabic script is centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); the Council of Representatives approved this flag in 2008 as a compromise replacement for the Ba'thist SADDAM-era flag

    note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two stars but no script; Yemen, which has a plain white band; and that of Egypt, which has a golden Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band

    National symbol(s) field listing
    golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Mawtini" (My Homeland)
    lyrics/music: Ibrahim TOUQAN/Mohammad FLAYFEL

    note: adopted 2004; following the ouster of SADDAM Husayn, Iraq adopted "Mawtini," a popular folk song throughout the Arab world; also serves as an unofficial anthem of the Palestinian people

  • Economy :: Iraq
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Iraq's GDP growth slowed to 1.1% in 2017, a marked decline compared to the previous two years as domestic consumption and investment fell because of civil violence and a sluggish oil market. The Iraqi Government received its third tranche of funding from its 2016 Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF in August 2017, which is intended to stabilize its finances by encouraging improved fiscal management, needed economic reform, and expenditure reduction. Additionally, in late 2017 Iraq received more than $1.4 billion in financing from international lenders, part of which was generated by issuing a $1 billion bond for reconstruction and rehabilitation in areas liberated from ISIL. Investment and key sector diversification are crucial components to Iraq’s long-term economic development and require a strengthened business climate with enhanced legal and regulatory oversight to bolster private-sector engagement. The overall standard of living depends on global oil prices, the central government passage of major policy reforms, a stable security environment post-ISIS, and the resolution of civil discord with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

    Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides roughly 85% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings, and is a major determinant of the economy's fortunes. Iraq's contracts with major oil companies have the potential to further expand oil exports and revenues, but Iraq will need to make significant upgrades to its oil processing, pipeline, and export infrastructure to enable these deals to reach their economic potential.

    In 2017, Iraqi oil exports from northern fields were disrupted following a KRG referendum that resulted in the Iraqi Government reasserting federal control over disputed oil fields and energy infrastructure in Kirkuk. The Iraqi government and the KRG dispute the role of federal and regional authorities in the development and export of natural resources. In 2007, the KRG passed an oil law to develop IKR oil and gas reserves independent of the federal government. The KRG has signed about 50 contracts with foreign energy companies to develop its reserves, some of which lie in territories taken by Baghdad in October 2017. The KRG is able to unilaterally export oil from the fields it retains control of through its own pipeline to Turkey, which Baghdad claims is illegal. In the absence of a national hydrocarbons law, the two sides have entered into five provisional oil- and revenue-sharing deals since 2009, all of which collapsed.

    Iraq is making slow progress enacting laws and developing the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and political reforms are still needed to assuage investors' concerns regarding the uncertain business climate. The Government of Iraq is eager to attract additional foreign direct investment, but it faces a number of obstacles, including a tenuous political system and concerns about security and societal stability. Rampant corruption, outdated infrastructure, insufficient essential services, skilled labor shortages, and antiquated commercial laws stifle investment and continue to constrain growth of private, nonoil sectors. Under the Iraqi constitution, some competencies relevant to the overall investment climate are either shared by the federal government and the regions or are devolved entirely to local governments. Investment in the IKR operates within the framework of the Kurdistan Region Investment Law (Law 4 of 2006) and the Kurdistan Board of Investment, which is designed to provide incentives to help economic development in areas under the authority of the KRG.

    Inflation has remained under control since 2006. However, Iraqi leaders remain hard-pressed to translate macroeconomic gains into an improved standard of living for the Iraqi populace. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country despite a bloated public sector. Overregulation has made it difficult for Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new businesses. Corruption and lack of economic reforms - such as restructuring banks and developing the private sector – have inhibited the growth of the private sector.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $649.3 billion (2017 est.)
    $662.9 billion (2016 est.)
    $586.3 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 34
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $192.4 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    -2.1% (2017 est.)
    13.1% (2016 est.)
    2.5% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $16,700 (2017 est.)
    $17,500 (2016 est.)
    $15,900 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 107
    Gross national saving field listing
    19% of GDP (2017 est.)
    13.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
    18.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 50.4% (2013 est.)
    government consumption: 22.9% (2016 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 20.6% (2016 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2016 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 32.5% (2016 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -40.9% (2016 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 3.3% (2017 est.)
    industry: 51% (2017 est.)
    services: 45.8% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry
    Industries field listing
    petroleum, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    0.7% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Labor force field listing
    8.9 million (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 21.6%
    industry: 18.7%
    services: 59.8% (2008 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    16% (2012 est.)
    15% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Population below poverty line field listing
    23% (2014 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 3.6%
    highest 10%: 25.7% (2007 est.)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 68.71 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 76.82 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    35.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -4.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Public debt field listing
    59.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
    66% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    0.1% (2017 est.)
    0.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    Current account balance field listing
    $4.344 billion (2017 est.)
    -$13.38 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    Exports field listing
    $61.4 billion (2017 est.)
    $41.72 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Exports - partners field listing
    India 21.2%, China 20.2%, US 15.8%, South Korea 9.4%, Greece 5.3%, Netherlands 4.8%, Italy 4.7% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    crude oil 99%, crude materials excluding fuels, food, live animals
    Imports field listing
    $39.47 billion (2017 est.)
    $19.57 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    Imports - commodities field listing
    food, medicine, manufactures
    Imports - partners field listing
    Turkey 27.8%, China 25.7%, South Korea 4.7%, Russia 4.3% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $48.88 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $45.36 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Debt - external field listing
    $73.02 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $64.16 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Exchange rates field listing
    Iraqi dinars (IQD) per US dollar -
    1,184 (2017 est.)
    1,182 (2016 est.)
    1,182 (2015 est.)
    1,167.63 (2014 est.)
    1,213.72 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Iraq
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    75.45 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    38.46 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    Electricity - imports field listing
    11.97 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    27.09 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    91% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    9% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Crude oil - production field listing
    4.613 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    3.092 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    148.8 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    398,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    826,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    8,284 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    255,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Natural gas - production field listing
    1.274 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    2.633 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    1.359 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    3.82 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    117.9 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
  • Communications :: Iraq
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 2,705,028
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 36,527,353
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 98 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: the 2003 liberation of Iraq severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq; widespread government efforts to rebuild domestic and international communications have slowed due to political unrest; 2018 showed signs of stability and installations of new fiber-optic cables and growth in mobile broadband subscribers; the most popular plans are pre-paid; 3 major operators in mobile sector preparing 4G and even 5G technologies; operators focused on fixing and replacing networks damaged during civil war (2020)
    domestic: the mobile cellular market continues to expand; 3G services offered by three major mobile operators; 4G offered by one operator in Iraqi; conflict has destroyed infrastructure in areas; 7 per 100 for fixed-line and 98 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2018)
    international: country code - 964; landing points for FALCON, and GBICS/MENA submarine cables providing connections to the Middle East, Africa and India; satellite earth stations - 4 (2 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region, and 1 Arabsat (inoperative)); local microwave radio relay connects border regions to Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey (2019)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    the number of private radio and TV stations has increased rapidly since 2003; government-owned TV and radio stations are operated by the publicly funded Iraqi Media Network; private broadcast media are mostly linked to political, ethnic, or religious groups; satellite TV is available to an estimated 70% of viewers and many of the broadcasters are based abroad; transmissions of multiple international radio broadcasters are accessible (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 18,364,390
    percent of population: 49.36% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 4,492,328
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
  • Military and Security :: Iraq
  • Military and security forces field listing
    Ministry of Defense: Iraqi Army, Army Aviation Command, Iraqi Navy, Iraqi Air Force, Iraqi Air Defense Command, Special Forces Command; National-Level Security Forces: Iraqi Counterterrorism Service (CTS; a Special Forces Division aka the "Golden Division"), Prime Minister's Special Forces Division, Presidential Brigades; Ministry of Interior: Federal Police Forces Command, Border Guard Forces Command, Federal Intelligence and Investigations Agency, Emergency Response Division, Facilities Protection Directorate, and Energy Police Directorate; Popular Mobilization Commission and Affiliated Forces (PMF); Ministry of Pershmerga Affairs (Kurdistan Regional Government) (2019)
    note: the PMF is a collection of approximately 50 paramilitary militias of different sizes and with varying political interests
    Military expenditures field listing
    3.5% of GDP (2019)
    2.9% of GDP (2018)
    3.9% of GDP (2017)
    3.5% of GDP (2016)
    5.4% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing

    assessments of the size of the Iraqi military, security services, and associated militia forces vary widely; the military and the security services are rebuilding after suffering considerable losses in personnel and equipment fighting the ISIS terrorist group (see note) and are also attempting to incorporate local militia groups; approximately 190,000 active personnel (180,000 Army; 3,000 Navy; 5,000 Air Force); National-Level Security Forces: est. 10,000 Iraqi Counterterrorism Service; est. 10,000 Presidential Brigades; est. 6,000 Prime Minister’s Special Forces Division; other: est. 100-150,000 Popular Mobilization Forces; est. 170,000-200,000 Peshmerga Forces


    (2019 est.)

    note: Iraqi Army strength reportedly fell from about 200,000 personnel in 2009 to around 50,000 in 2016

    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the Iraqi military inventory is comprised of Russian and Soviet-era equipment combined with newer European- and US-sourced platforms; since 2010, Russia and the US are the leading suppliers of military hardware to Iraq (2019 est.)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)
  • Transportation :: Iraq
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 4 (2020)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 34
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,075,065 (2018)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 16.2 million mt-km (2018)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    YI (2016)
    Airports field listing
    102 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 72 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 20 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 34 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2017)
    under 914 m: 7 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 30 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 13 (2013)
    under 914 m: 6 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    16 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    2455 km gas, 913 km liquid petroleum gas, 5432 km oil, 1637 km refined products (2013)
    Railways field listing
    total: 2,272 km (2014)
    standard gauge: 2,272 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    Roadways field listing
    total: 59,623 km (2012)
    paved: 59,623 km (includes Kurdistan region) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Waterways field listing
    5,279 km (the Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,899 km), and Third River (565 km) are the principal waterways) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 73
    by type: general cargo 1, oil tanker 6, other 66 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Ports and terminals field listing
    river port(s): Al Basrah (Shatt al Arab); Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr (Khawr az Zubayr waterway)
  • Terrorism :: Iraq
  • Terrorist groups - home based field listing
    Ansar al-Islam (AAI): aim(s): expel western interests from Iraq and, ultimately, establish an independent Iraqi state operating according to its interpretation of sharia
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in northern Iraq with its largest presence in Kirkuk, Tikrit, and Mosul; active in the western and central regions of the country
    note: majority of members are Iraqi Kurds or Iraqi Arabs who are Sunni Muslim (2018)
    Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi (JRTN): aim(s): end external influence in Iraq and, ultimately, overthrow the Government of Iraq to install a secular Ba'athist state within the internationally recognized borders of Iraq
    area(s) of operation: attacks separatist Kurdish groups, Iraqi Government military and security forces and facilities, and foreign military personnel (2018)
    Kata'ib Hizballah (KH): aim(s): counter US influence and, ultimately, overthrow the Iraqi Government to install a government based on Shia Muslim laws and precepts
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in the Shia Muslim areas of Baghdad, with fighters active in Ninawa, Al Anbar, and Babil governorates (2018)
    Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK): aim(s): advance Kurdish autonomy and security goals in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria
    area(s) of operation: operational in the north and east, with its stronghold in the Qandil Mountains; majority of members inside Iraq are Iraqi, Turkish, and Iranian Kurds, along with Kurds from Syria (2018)
    Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH): aim(s): maintain a Shiite-controlled government in Iraq; promote Iran's political and religious influence in Iraq; expel the remaining US military and diplomatic presence in the country
    area(s) of operation: Iraq
    note(s): the group is largely funded by Iran and receives training from the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (2020)
    Terrorist groups - foreign based field listing
    Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- Qods Force (IRGC-QF):

    aim(s): back Iraq’s pro-government Shia militias by supplying two battalions of IRGC forces to jointly engage in combat against ISIS; provide weapons and munitions to Shia militants targeting US forces
    area(s) of operations: Baghdad, Basrah, Karbala, Mosul, Samarra, Tikrit  

    Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS): aim(s): replace the world order with a global Islamic state based in Iraq and Syria; expand its branches and networks in other countries; rule according to ISIS's strict interpretation of Islamic law
    area(s) of operation:
    operational in the rural and desert areas of central and northern Iraq, primarily within and near Sunni populations, with some presence in major population areas (2018)
  • Transnational Issues :: Iraq
  • Disputes - international field listing

    Iraq's lack of a maritime boundary with Iran prompts jurisdiction disputes beyond the mouth of the Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf; Turkey has expressed concern over the autonomous status of Kurds in Iraq

    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    refugees (country of origin): 15,405 (Turkey), 7,944 (West Bank and Gaza Strip), 7,026 (Iran) (2018); 243,011 (Syria) (2020)
    IDPs: 1,389,540 (displacement in central and northern Iraq since January 2014) (2020)
    stateless persons: 47,515 (2018); note - in the 1970s and 1980s under SADDAM Husayn's regime, thousands of Iraq's Faili Kurds, followers of Shia Islam, were stripped of their Iraqi citizenship, had their property seized by the government, and many were deported; some Faili Kurds had their citizenship reinstated under the 2,006 Iraqi Nationality Law, but others lack the documentation to prove their Iraqi origins; some Palestinian refugees persecuted by the SADDAM regime remain stateless

    note: estimate revised to reflect the reduction of statelessness in line with Law 26 of 2006, which allows stateless persons to apply for nationality in certain circumstances; more accurate studies of statelessness in Iraq are pending (2015)