Jordan Jordan

Statistical Snapshot


Jordan is an almost completely landlocked country, with an estimated population of 11 million as of January 2022,[1] and 2,307,011 were registered Palestinian refugees as of 31 December 2020,[2] 668,332 registered Syrian refugees and 34,350 registered Iraqi refugees by mid-2021.[3] More than 90 percent of Jordan’s population is living in urban areas. With a fertility rate of 2.7 births per woman – gradually decreasing from 4 births in 2000– and increasing life expectancy reaching 73.3 years in 2020, up from 69 in 2000,[1] the country’s population below 30 years of age has been shrinking, reaches an estimated 60 percent in 2020, down from 70 percent in 2000.[4]


Jordan’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2019 is 0.729 – 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 14.7 percent of its HDI value mostly due to inequality in income.[5]


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.[6]


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 6.9 percent of GDP in 2018 to 2.1 percent in 2019, but in 2021 it increased to 8.9 percent.[7] In terms of trade, Jordan’s exports decreased by 5.2 percent in the first eleven months of 2020, compared to the same period a year earlier. The value of total imports decreased by 12.4 percent during the same period largely due to a decline in international oil prices and the COVID-19 outbreak, leading to a decrease in the trade balance deficit by 17.8 percent in 2020.[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 3 percent since 2017 but contracted to -1.8 percent in 2020 and then increased to 3 percent in October 2021.[8] Inflation remained broadly contained rising to 4.46 percent during 2018, then decreased to about 0.33 percent in 2020,[1] due to a decline in food and imports prices, including oil. According to IMF estimates, fiscal consolidation proved challenging to maintain in 2021, with the overall fiscal deficit amounting to 7.7 percent of GDP, compared to 4.7 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.[6][7] Public debt remained elevated, at a high of 88 percent in 2020 and increased to an estimated 90.9 percent of GDP in 2021.[7]



According to the WHO, current health expenditure as a percentage of GDP in Jordan is at 8 percent, as a result out-of-pocket health expenditure accounts for around a third of current health expenditure.[9]


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.[10] 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. On June 15, 2020, Prime Minister announced additional measures to support the tourism sector, by allowing tourism sector to pay its 2019 tax liability in installments with no penalty, reducing the general sales tax for hotels and restaurants. Additionally, the Central Bank of Jordan announced many measures to reduce the effect of COVID-19 on the economy: Postponing the repayments of loans without any additional fees, providing additional liquidity to the Banks, reducing the cost of financing the Central Bank's program to finance and support developmental economic sectors on existing and future facilities.[11]


Weak economic growth is reflected in challenging labor market conditions. Unemployment climbed sharply to reach 23.2 percent in 2020, up from an average of 19 percent in recent years. Youth in the age group 15-19 and 20-24 and women are particularly hard-hit, with unemployment rates estimated at 55.6 percent, 44.3 percent and 30.7 percent respectively, according to the latest data published by the Department of Statistics in Jordan (DoS).[1] The Ministry of Labor announced a plan to re-instate a one-year military service to help contain youth unemployment in the aftermath of the pandemic. And in December 2020, an expansion of cash transfer program has been announced to cover 100,000 new families and daily workers in aim to protect the workers in the tourism sector and other jobs hit by the pandemic. On March 31, 2021, the government announced a COVID stimulus package covering the protection of existing jobs (JD 113 million), employment of youth in COVID-related programs (JD 10 million), and social welfare programs (JD 60 million, primarily via an expansion of the Takaful cash transfer program).[12]


Jordan continues to face serious water scarcity. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation set out a National Water Strategy (2016-2025) plan 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 1000 cubic meters per capita, annually.[13]


This overview was last updated in January 2022. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] Department of Statistics (DOS). 2022. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[2] United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 2022. UNRWA in Figures 2020-2021. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[3] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2022. Refugee Population Statistics Database. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[4] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2020. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[5] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2020. Explanatory note: Jordan [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[6] The World Bank. 2022. Doing Business 2020. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[7] International Monetary Fund (IMF). October 2021. World Economic Outlook Database. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[8] Ministry of Finance. 2022. General government finance bulletin. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[9] World Health Organization (WHO). Global Health Expenditure Database. 2022. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[10] International Monetary Fund (IMF). April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[11] The Central Bank of Jordan. 2022. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[12] International Monetary Fund (IMF). Policy Responses to COVID-19. 2022. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].

[13] The Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan. 2018. Water sector policy for drought management. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 19 January 2022].


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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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