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People and Society






Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain during the course of World War I; in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was SADDAM Husayn. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. US forces remained in Iraq under a UNSC mandate through 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter, helping to provide security and to train and mentor Iraqi security forces. In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives (COR) in December 2005. The COR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century. In January 2009, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates except for the three governorates comprising the Kurdistan Regional Government and Kirkuk Governorate. Iraq held a national legislative election in March 2010 - choosing 325 legislators in an expanded COR - and, after nine months of deadlock the COR approved the new government in December 2010. Nearly nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War in Iraq, US military operations there ended in mid-December 2011.


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People And Society

Noun Iraqi(s)
Adjective Iraqi

Ethnic groups
Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%

Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen (a Turkish dialect) and Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic) are official in areas where they constitute a majority of the population), Armenian

Muslim (official) 97% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
While there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, recent reporting indicates that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of the Saddam HUSSEIN regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon

Population World Ranking: 39
31,129,225 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
38% (male 5,882,682/female 5,678,741)
15-64 years
58.9% (male 9,076,558/female 8,826,545)
65 years and over
3.1% (male 435,908/female 499,138) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 21.1 years
Male 21 years
Female 21.2 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 33
2.345% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 43
28.19 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 195
4.73 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 90
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 66% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
2.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
BAGHDAD (capital) 5.751 million; Mosul 1.447 million; Erbil 1.009 million; Basra 923,000; As Sulaymaniyah 836,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.87 male(s)/female
Total population
1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 96
63 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 62
Total 40.25 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 44.43 deaths/1,000 live births
35.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 144
Total population 70.85 years
Male 69.41 years
Female 72.35 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 45
3.58 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 33
9.7% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.69 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density
1.3 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 130
Less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 155
Fewer than 500 (2003 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Intermediate
Food or waterborne diseases
Bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 72
7.1% (2006)

Education expenditures

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 78.2%
Male 86%
Female 70.6% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 10 years
Male 11 years
Female 8 years (2005)


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  Iraq (Baghdad):

  GPS points from Iraq (Baghdad)

Azroman Dagh Iraq (general)

Shakh-i Zawajo Muhafazat As Sulaymaniyah

Khirr-i Kora Muhafazat Kirkuk

Wadi As Sadr Al Anbar

Al Hawtah Al Basrah
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