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Iraqis in Jordan
Total population
1-2 million[1]

18-36% of the total population

Regions with significant populations
Amman, Madaba

Arabic, Kurdish, Neo-Aramaic (incl. Mandaic), Turkmen


Predominantly Islam (Shia and Sunni) and Christianity (Syriac Christianity and Eastern Catholic).

Related ethnic groups

Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Azeris, Chaldeans, Iranians, Jordanians, Mizrahim, Turks

Iraqis in Jordan are estimated to number between 1 and 2 million and comprise approximately 18-36 per cent of the total population.[1] Estimating the size of an immigrant population is difficult, as some Iraqis may have entered without a legal permit, or overstayed their permit. Parts of the Iraqi population in Jordan may therefore be reluctant to reveal their presence, in fear of deportation.



There have been two primary waves of Iraqi refugees coming into Jordan. The first wave arrived after the 1991 Gulf War and Saddam's brutal repression of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds and the economic sanctions that followed. Many of these refugees were upper-middle class, including doctors, intellectuals and teachers. The Jordanian immigration authority has provided the numbers of Iraqi nationals entering and leaving Jordan since 1990 up to March 2007, estimating them at 547,000.

Before the start of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, between 250,000 and 300,000 were thought to have been already living in Jordan. This figure has included not only Iraqi refugees, but also long-term residents who had remained in Jordan to work.

After the 2003 invasion, the demographics of those fleeing from Iraq to Jordan were similar to those of the first wave. They were businessmen and former government officials who brought with them great potential for investments. This influx of cash helped boost the Jordanian economy, but also fueled inflation and wage shortages, which aggravated existing inequalities.

Although exact numbers of Iraqi refugees are not easy to come by since the Jordanian government has not carried out any solid statistical studies, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 750,000 to 1 million of whom have fled to Jordan.[2]


The growing Chaldean Catholic population in Jordan.

The majority of refugees are Sunni muslims accounting for 60 percent of the Iraqi community in Jordan while, 18 percent are Shia muslims, and 15 percent are Christian.[1]Most Iraqis residing in Amman, originally come from war torn Baghdad.[1] The majority of the Iraqis who fled to Jordan are the wealthy and well educated, but only 22 per cent of Iraqi adults work legally.[1]

Almost all Iraqi refugees in Jordan desire settling in a third country with better prospects, particularly the minorities and the poor. With more than half the Iraqi refugees unemployed it is very difficult to make a living, its estimated that only 30 per cent are participating in the work force. Amongst them women account for only 15 per cent, who are active in the labor market, although the rate is higher for men.[1]

Notable people

See also




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