Open main menu

Jordan (see separate West Bank entry)

World Factbook (1990) Jordan.jpg

 See regional map VI

Note: The war between Israel and the Arab states in June 1967 ended with Israel in control of the West Bank. As stated in the 1978 Camp David Accords and reaffirmed by President Reagan's 1 September 1982 peace initiative, the final status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, their relationship with their neighbors, and a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan are to be negotiated among the concerned parties. The Camp David Accords further specify that these negotiations will resolve the location of the respective boundaries. Pending the completion of this process, it is US policy that the final status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has yet to be determined.


Total area: 91,880 km²; land area: 91,540 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Indiana

Land boundaries: 1,586 km total; Iraq 134 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 742 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km

Coastline: 26 km

Maritime claim:

Territorial sea: 3 nm

Disputes: differences with Israel over the location of the 1949 Armistice Line which separates the two countries

Climate: mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)

Terrain: mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River

Natural resources: phosphates, potash, shale oil

Land use: 4% arable land; 0.5% permanent crops; 1% meadows and pastures; 0.5% forest and woodland; 94% other; includes 0.5% irrigated

Environment: lack of natural water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification


Population: 3,064,508 (July 1990), growth rate 3.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 42 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 55 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 68 years male, 71 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.2 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Jordanian(s); adjective—Jordanian

Ethnic divisions: 98% Arab, 1% Circassian, 1% Armenian

Religion: 92% Sunni Muslim, 8% Christian

Language: Arabic (official); English widely understood among upper and middle classes

Literacy: 71% (est.)

Labor force: 572,000 (1988); 20% agriculture, 20% manufacturing and mining (1987 est.)

Organized labor: about 10% of labor force

Note: 1.5-1.7 million Palestinians live on the East Bank (55-60% of the population), most are Jordanian citizens


Long-form name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Amman

Administrative divisions: 8 governorates (muḥāfaz̧at, singular muḥāfaz̧ah); Al Balqā’, Al Karak, Al Mafraq, ‘Ammān, Aţ Ţafīlah, Az Zarqā’, Irbid, Ma‘ān

Independence: 25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration; formerly Trans-Jordan)

Constitution: 8 January 1952

Legal system: based on Islamic law and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Independence Day, 25 May (1946)

Executive branch: monarch, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly (Majlis al ‘Umma) consists of an upper house or House of Notables (Majlis al-A‘yaan) and a lower house or House of Representatives (Majlis al-Nuwwab); note—the House of Representatives was dissolved by King Hussein on 30 July 1988 as part of Jordanian disengagement from the West Bank and in November 1989 the first parliamentary elections in 22 years were held, with no seats going to Palestinians on the West Bank

Judicial branch: Court of Cassation

Leaders: Chief of State—King HUSSEIN Ibn Talal I (since 11 August 1952);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Mudar BADRAN (since 4 December 1989)

Political parties and leaders: none; after 1989 parliamentary elections, King Hussein promised to allow the formation of political parties

Suffrage: universal at age 20

Elections: House of Representatives—last held 8 November 1989 (next to be held NA); results—percent of vote NA; seats—(80 total) percent of vote NA

Communists: party actively repressed, membership less than 500 (est.)


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Hussein A. HAMMAMI; Chancery at 3504 International Drive NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 966-2664; US—Ambassador Roscoe S. SUDDARTH; Embassy on Jebel Amman, Amman (mailing address is P. O. Box 354, Amman, or APO New York 09892); telephone [962](6) 644371 through 644376

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of black (top), white, and green with a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bearing a small white seven-pointed star; the seven points on the star represent the seven fundamental laws of the Koran


Overview: Jordan was a secondary beneficiary of the oil boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s, when its GNP growth averaged 10-12%. Recent years, however, have witnessed a sharp reduction in cash aid from Arab oil-producing countries and in worker remittances, with growth averaging 1-2%. Imports mainly oil, capital goods, consumer durables, and foodstuffs have been outstripping exports by roughly $2 billion annually, the difference being made up by aid, remittances, and borrowing. In 1989 the government pursued policies to encourage private investment, curb imports of luxury goods, promote exports, reduce the budget deficit, and, in general, reinvigorate economic growth. Success will depend largely on exogenous forces, such as the absence of drought and a pickup in outside support. Down the road, the completion of the proposed Unity Dam on the Yarmuk is vital to meet rapidly growing requirements for water.

GNP: $5.2 billion, per capita $1,760; real growth rate 0%(1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 35% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 9-10% (December 1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $0.92 billion; expenditures $1.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $540 million (1989 est.)

Exports: $0.910 billion (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities—fruits and vegetables, phosphates, fertilizers; partners—Iraq, Saudi Arabia, India, Kuwait, Japan, China, Yugoslavia, Indonesia

Imports: $1.7 billion (c.i.f., 1989 est.); commodities—crude oil, textiles, capital goods, motor vehicles, foodstuffs; partners—EC, US, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Turkey, Romania, China, Taiwan

External debt: $8.3 billion (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate -7.8% (1988 est.)

Electricity: 981,000 kW capacity; 3,500 million kWh produced, 1,180 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: phosphate mining, petroleum refining, cement, potash, light manufacturing

Agriculture: accounts for only 5% of GDP; principal products are wheat, barley, citrus fruit, tomatoes, melons, olives; livestock—sheep, goats, poultry; large net importer of food

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $1.7 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $1.2 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $9.5 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $44 million

Currency: Jordanian dinar (plural—dinars); 1 Jordanian dinar (JD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1—0.6557 (January 1990), 0.5704 (1989), 0.3715 (1988), 0.3387 (1987), 0.3499 (1986), 0.3940 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 619 km 1.050-meter gauge, single track

Highways: 7,500 km; 5,500 km asphalt, 2,000 km gravel and crushed stone

Pipelines: crude oil, 209 km

Ports: Al Aqabah

Merchant marine: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 32,635 GRT/44,618 DWT; includes 1 short-sea passenger, 2 bulk cargo

Civil air: 19 major transport aircraft

Airports: 19 total, 16 usable; 14 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways over 3,659 m; 13 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; none with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: adequate system of radio relay, cable, and radio; 81,500 telephones; stations—4 AM, 3 FM, 24 TV; satellite earth stations—1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, 1 ARABSAT, 1 domestic TV receive-only; coaxial cable and radio relay to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria; radio relay to Lebanon is inactive; a microwave network linking Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Jordan

Defense Forces

Branches: Jordan Arab Army, Royal Jordanian Air Force, Royal Jordanian Coast Guard

Military manpower: males 15-49, 726,736; 519,972 fit for military service; 38,730 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 11% of GNP, or $570 million (1990 est.)