Jordan is an almost landlocked country with a population of 7.5 million in 2015, increasing by 2.7 million from 2000, at an annual growth rate of 5.3 %. The number of refugees in Jordan has tremendously increased over the last fifteen years, up from 981 persons in 2000 to 664 thousand persons in 2015. Jordan is highly urbanized with more than 90% of its population living in urban areas in 2015. With a constant fertility rate of 3.3 births and increasing life expectancy reaching 74 years in 2015, the country’s population below 30 years of age has been shrinking, reaching 81.8% in 2015 compared to 92.3% in 2000.
According to latest data available in 2012, 1.2% of the Jordanian population were multi-dimensionally poor, while an additional of 1.0% lived near multidimensional poverty.
Jordan recorded the highest adult literacy rate among the Arab countries in 2015, averaging at 98%. According to latest available data for gross enrollment rates, which date to 2012, the primary enrollment rate declined from 102.5% in 2000 to 88.7% in 2012, while the tertiary enrollment rate increased from 28.3% to 46.7% between 2000 and 2012. The Gender Parity Index (GPI) at the primary and tertiary levels were 1.0 and 1.2 respectively in 2012.
Jordan is an upper-income-country with a GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) of Int$ 77.8 billion and a GNI per capita (Purchasing Power Parity) of Int$ 10,740 in 2015. Contributing around 17.6% to Jordan’s GDP, the finance, insurance, real estate and business services were the main drivers of growth in the economy in 2013.
Despite the influx of Syrian refugees, estimated at 639,704 as of 3 March 2016, the GDP growth rate averaged 2.8% between 2011 and 2015. Due to declines in fuel and transportation prices, inflation went down to -0.9% in 2015. At the fiscal level, the cash deficit narrowed to 3.4% of GDP in2015, down from 5.5% of GDP in 2013. Notably, foreign grants, as a percentage of total revenues, went up from 12.5% in 2013 to 20.5% in 2014. Jordan remains burdened with its public debt, which increased from 60.2% of GDP in 2008 to a high of 91% of GDP in 2015.
Jordan is a member of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA), the Euro-Mediterranean free trade area, the Agadir Agreement, and has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the United States, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, the European Union, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Turkey, and Syria.
Over the last fifteen years, external trade’s magnitude in the Jordanian economy has been relatively stable, with international trade to GDP ratio scoring 110%, increased to 113.3% in 2013, but fell down to 98% in 2015. The two major exporting industries in Jordan are the pharmaceutical industry and the phosphate and potash extraction industries. Jordan exports around 75% of its pharmaceutical production.
Jordan’s large dependence on oil imports makes the country more vulnerable to external shocks. In 2013, oil imports represented 32% of total Jordanian imports, with Saudi Arabia being the first source of imports, accounting for 23.6% of total imports, followed by the European Union (17.6%). Exports of services in Jordan are dominated by services in the travel sector, while transport services are the highest among Jordanian imports of services.
Men’s labor force participation in Jordan decreased over the last 14 years from 66.1% in 2000 to 60% in2015, while that of women increased from12.3% in 2000 to 14.9% in 2009, but dropped back to 13.3% in2015. High youth unemployment in Jordan remains a serious economic and social problem. Unemployment rate registered 13% in2015, 11% for men and 22.5% for women, of which 48.3% of the unemployed belonged to the age group 15-24 years in 2015 and 41.1% for the age group 25-39 years. The highest share of the unemployed is among people with lower than secondary education, accounting for 43.4% of the unemployed, followed by holders of a bachelor degree or above, accounting for 40.3% of the unemployed population in 2015. In addition, 25.6% of the unemployed have been jobless for a duration of 7 to 12 months in 2015.
Unlike its neighbor countries, namely Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Jordan does not have any energy resources. Its natural resources are limited to phosphates and agricultural produce. As such, Jordan relies heavily on imports of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas to meet its domestic demand. Net oil exports amounted to negative 26 million barrels in 2012 and net natural gas exports a negative of 30.1 billion cubic feet in 2013.
This overview has been drafted by the ADP team based on most available data as of 30 September 2016.