Iraq is a country in Western Asia with a population estimated at 36 million and growing at 3% rate in 2015. Its urban population constitutes 69% of the total population, and youth below 30 years of age make up 88% of the total population. Over the last fifteen years, fertility rate decreased from 5 births to 4 births, while life expectancy remained constant at around 69 years;[1] this was accompanied by an increase in the adult mortality rate for men from 165 to 197 per 1000.[2]

Iraq has been struggling with poverty, as per the latest data available of 2011, where more than 4 million Iraqis were considered multi-dimensionally poor, which makes up 13.3% of the total population, while an additional 7.4% (2.3 million people) lived near multi-dimensional poverty. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) – the share of the population that is multi-dimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations – was 0.045.[5] Latest updates in Iraq point out to an estimated 10 million people in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of Da’esh expansion in the country in 2014.[6]

Education in Iraq is facing tremendous challenges, as the escalation of violence has taken its toll; 2 million school-aged children have become out of school.[6] In 2015-2016, 23% of school buildings are no more available for teaching or learning activities because of being damaged, destroyed or turned into collective shelters for IDPs.[8] Noting that the country witnessed some positive trends in adult literacy rates which increased from 74.1% in 2000 to 79.7% in 2015.[7] 

Known for its mining and quarrying economic activities (45.3% of GDP in 2013)[9] and high oil revenues at 92% of total government revenues in 2014,[10] the country’s GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) leveled at Int$ 510.60 billion in 2015 and the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita amounted to Int$ 14,850.[2] As a result of Da’esh expansion in Iraq and the decline in international oil prices, GDP growth rate (constant 2005 prices) declined from 13.9% in 2012 to negative 0.4 % in 2014, and to 2.4% growth in 2015.[3] Down from 53.2% in 2006, Inflation plunged to low levels of 1.4% in 2015.[3] Despite the Government’s consolidation efforts, the economic and political pressures increased the fiscal deficit from 5.8% of GDP in 2013 to 23.1% in 2015.[3] Furthermore, public debt rose sharply from 38.9% of GDP in 2014 to 66.1% of GDP in 2015.[3][11]

The economy in Iraq is highly dominated by the oil sector. Oil exports accounted for 99% of Iraq’s total exports in 2013,[2] amounting to 104 trillion Iraqi Dinars. However, the prevailing insecurity has deeply hindered trade and investment in Iraq and interrupted northern oil exports in 2014.[3] Though the country is highly trade-dependent, the ratio of trade to GDP has significantly decreased over the last fifteen years from 125% to 69%. Similarly, the ratio of goods and services exports to GDP declined from 76% to 40% and that of imports declined from 50% to 29% over the same period.[2] In 2013, Iraq’s trade balance scored a surplus of 65.5 trillion Iraqi Dinars; however, it scored a deficit of 4 trillion Iraqi Dinars with the Arab countries in the same year.[4]

With a labour force participation rate of 69.8% for men compared to only 15% for women,[2] unemployment in Iraq remains a predicament due to the ongoing conflicts and instability. Post-war 2003, unemployment reached 30%, but dropped to 15.1% in 2013. However, the deterioration of the economic and security conditions since mid-2014 led to an increase in unemployment rate by approximately 2 percentage points, averaging 16.9% in 2015.[12] Unemployment rates by educational attainment show relatively similar patterns among the different educational groups, where unemployment among the illiterate was around 16.4% in 2008, compared to 16.1% for those holding a bachelor degree.[4] In 2014, total youth unemployment rate (aged 15-24) reached 35.1 % down from 52.3% in 2003.[2]

Iraq is considered the second-largest crude oil producer in OPEC. Due to infrastructure constraints and political disputes, crude oil production decreased from 938 million barrels in 2000 to around 476 million barrels in 2003. This level rose again in 2004 to 734 million barrels and continued to increase by more than 450 million barrels in the last 10 years to reach 1.2 billion barrels in 2014.[13] The largest importer of Iraq's crude oil in 2014 was China. Additionally, net oil exports increased to 886 million barrels in 2012 from 333 million barrels in 2003.[14]

On the other hand and over the past 15 years, natural gas production declined from 111.2 billion cubic feet to its lowest level in 2012 at 22.81 billion cubic feet, but it increased slightly again to 41.67 billion cubic feet in 2013.[13]


This overview has been drafted by the ADP team based on most available data as of 30 September 2016.


  1. World Population Prospects, Population Division, United Nations 
  2. World Development Indicators, The World Bank
  3. International Monetary Fund
  4. Iraq Central Statistical Organization
  5. UNDP Human Development Report 2015
  6. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Nov 2015, “Humanitarian Needs Overview
  7. UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  8. UNICEF, Jan 2016, “Iraq Monthly Humanitarian Situation
  9. ADP team computations based on figures extracted from the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Iraq
  10. ADP team computations based on figures extracted from the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI)
  11. IMF Country Report No. 15/235, August 2015
  12. KILM – International Labour Organization (ILO)
  13. International Energy Statistics, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
  14. ADP calculations based on data extracted from the  International Energy Statistics, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Iraq Statistical Snapshot 2016
view all

Data Highlighted

  • The tertiary gross enrollment ratio in Iraq has been on the rise since 2006, it reached 19.4% in 2015.

view all