Jordan Jordan

Statistical Snapshot


Jordan is an almost completely landlocked country, with an estimated population of 10.6 million in 2019,[1] of which 2,242,579 were registered Palestinian refugees[2], 656,418 registered Syrian refugees[3] and 67,225 registered Iraqi refugees.[4] More than 90 percent of Jordan’s population is living in urban areas.[1] With a fertility rate of 2.8 births per woman – gradually decreasing from 4 births in 2000 [5] – and increasing life expectancy reaching 74 years in 2017, up from 69 in 2000,[1] the country’s population below 30 years of age has been shrinking, projected to reach 60 percent in 2020, down from 70 percent in 2000.[6]


Jordan’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2018 is 0.723 – which put the country in the high human development category – positioning it at 102 out of 189 countries and territories. When adjusted for inequality, the country loses 15 percent of its HDI value mostly due to inequality in income.[7]


In 2019, Jordan adopted substantial structural reforms to improve the business climate, becoming one of  the top 10 improvers out of 190 economies according to the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report. Jordan’s efforts focused primarily on strengthening access to credit, implementing digital taxes payment and adopting measures to facilitate resolving insolvency.[8]


While the recent improvements of the regulatory environment have not yet translated into an increase in domestic or foreign investment, a considerable recovery in exports and tourism narrowed the current account deficit from 10 percent of GDP in 2018 to a projected 6 percent in 2019, giving some impetus to the Jordanian economy.[9] In terms of trade, Jordan’s exports increased by 7.3 percent in 2019, compared to the same period a year earlier, with exports to the Greater Arab Trade Zone countries particularly increasing by 2.1 percent. The value of total imports decreased by 4.8 percent during the same period largely due to a decline in international oil prices, leading to a decrease in the trade balance deficit by 12.2 percent in 2019.[1]


Nonetheless, regional conflicts, the resulting influx of refugees and the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is having a considerable impact on the socio-economic conditions. Growth remained weak averaging only 2 percent since 2016 and projected at 2.1 percent in 2020.[9][10] Inflation remained broadly contained rising to 3.7 percent during 2017–2018,[1] then decreased to about 0.3 percent in 2019,[1] due to a decline in food and imports prices, including oil. Fiscal consolidation proved challenging to maintain in 2019, with the overall fiscal deficit amounting to 5 percent of GDP, compared to 3.3 percent in 2018. Weaknesses in tax administration and delays in implementation of fiscal measures have led to a decrease in revenues, with large off-budget expenditures in 2018 and 2019.[8] Public debt remained elevated, at a high of 94.4 percent of GDP in 2018, and estimated at 96.6 percent in 2019.[10]

According to the WHO, government health expenditure as a percentage of GDP in Jordan is at 3.5 percent, around a third of the global average; as a result out-of-pocket health expenditure accounts for around a third of current health expenditure, compared to a quite similar global average of 33 percent.[11]


In March 2020, the IMF approved a 48-month arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with Jordan for an amount equivalent to $1.3 billion or 270 percent of Jordan’s quota to support the country’s economic and financial reform program and help the Jordanian authorities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.[12] Jordan’s government had announced in mid-March a range of relief measures, including postponing collection of sales and other taxes, and price ceilings on essential products.[13]


Weak economic growth is reflected in challenging labor market conditions. Unemployment reached 19 percent in 2019, up from 11.9 percent in 2014. Youth, university graduates and women are particularly hard-hit, with unemployment rates estimated at 43.5 percent, 42.2 percent and 26.8 percent respectively, according to the latest data published by the Department of Statistics in Jordan (DoS).[1]


Jordan continues to face serious water scarcity. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation set out a National Water Strategy (2016-2025) plan in order to combat the challenges of water cut-offs and drought and to counter depletion and deterioration of groundwater quality. The per capita annual water supply has been decreasing in Jordan, from 500 cubic meters in 1975 to 100 cubic meters in 2017, which is far below the global poverty line at a 1000 cubic meters per capita, annually.[14]

This overview was last updated in April 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.

[1] Department of Statistics (DOS). 2020. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[2] United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 2019. UNRWA In Figures 2018-2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[3] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2020. Jordan: Statistics for Registered Syrian Refugees (as of 15 April 2020). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[4] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2019. Jordan: Statistics for Registered Iraqi Refugees (as of 15 November 2019). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020]
[5] The World Bank. 2020. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020]
[6] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2020. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[7] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). HDI Database. April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 22 April 2020
[8] The World Bank. 2020. Doing Business 2020: Comparing Business Regulation in 190 Economies. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[9] International Monetary Fund (IMF). 2020. Jordan: 2020 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Jordan. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[10] Ministry of Finance. 2019. General government finance bulletin. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[11] World Health Organization (WHO). April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[12] International Monetary Fund (IMF). April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[13] International Monetary Fund (IMF). May 2020. [ONLINE] Availble at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[14] The Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan. 2018. Water sector policy for drought management. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].

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Data Highlights

  • Jordan recorded the highest adult literacy rate among the Arab countries in 2012, averaging at 98%.

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