Demographics of Iraq

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Iraq, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Ancient Iraq is referred to as Mesopotamia and has throughout its history been a multiethnic and multicultural region. Historically, ancient peoples who inhabited Iraq were the Sumerians and Babylonians to the south, Akkadians in the central-south and Assyrians to the north of the country. A native Arab population was present in the country as early as the second or third century BC, about four centuries before the Islamic conquest in the 7th century. The earliest known language in history is the Sumerian language, originating in southern Iraq (Sumer-Babylonia).[1] During the third millennium BC, a very intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians of the south and the Akkadians to further north in central Mesopotamia, in which there was very widespread bilingualism of both peoples able to speak the Sumerian and Akkadian language.[2] Aramaic, as well as Christianity, has been present in Iraq during since the first century, which was introduced by Thomas the Apostle. Christians in Iraq are one of the world's oldest continuous communities in the world.[3] Before the advent of Islam to Iraq, the majority of the population who inhabited Iraq followed Christianity, Judaism or indigenous ancient Mesopotamian religions. The pre-Islamic people of Iraq included people from various ethnic groups in Mesopotamia; and the majority of them spoke the Syriac language, despite not all being ethnic Syriacs, Assyrians or Christians. Syriac Christianity first emerged in Upper Mesopotamia and the Nestorian Church and its successor churches were established in central-southern Iraq, in the ancient city of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. Unknown to many, after Palestine/Israel, Iraq is the location of the most biblical history than any other country in the world.[4]

Following the Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia, a large population of the indigenous Syriac-speaking people of Iraq (who followed either Christianity, Judaism or Mesopotamian religion) were Arabized and became Muslims, eventually adopting the Arab identity with their religion.[5] However, a Christian group of indigenous people from Mesopotamia, the Chaldo-Assyrian peoples, resisted Islamization as well as Arabization, retaining their Syriac Christian religion and language to this day. Mesopotamian Iraqi Arabic developed as the dominant language in the country, and is an Aramaic Syriac substrate, and also shares significant influences from ancient Mesopotamian languages of Akkadian, Sumerian and Babylonian, as well as Persian, Turkish and Kurdish. Mesopotamian Arabic (spoken in all of Iraq and parts of Syria) is said to be the most Aramaic-Syriac influenced dialect of Arabic, due to Armaic-Syriac having originated in Mesopotamia, and spread throughout the Middle East (Fertile Crescent) during the Neo-Assyrian period, eventually becoming the lingua franca of the entire region before Islam.[6][7][8] Iraqi Arabs and Assyrians are the largest Semitic peoples in Iraq, sharing significant similarities in language between Mesopotamian Arabic and Syriac, and Kurds are the largest Indo-Euorpean people, sharing similarities with the other Iranian peoples in the country, such as the Yazidis.[9][10]

The population was estimated to be 40,194,216 in 2018,[11] with most of the population being Arab (75%), followed by Kurds (20%), Turkmen 3% (3 million), Afro-Iraqis (1 million), Chaldo-Assyrians 2–5% (500,000-1.5 Million), Yazidi 1.4% (500,000) and Shabaks 0.7% (250,000). Iraqis are 64% Shia Muslim, 31% Sunni Muslim, 2–5% Christian, 1.4% Yazidi, and, and several other indigenous faiths.[12] The percentages of different ethnoreligious groups vary from source to source due to the last Iraqi census having taken place over 30 years ago. A new census of Iraq is planned to take place in 2020 in which the populations of each ethnoreligious group in Iraq will clearly defined.[13][14][15]

Background[edit]

Iraq is the region known outside the Islamic world as Mesopotamia. The population estimate in 1920 was 3 million. The ruins of Ur, Babylon and other ancient cities are situated in Iraq, as is the legendary location of the Garden of Eden. Almost 75% of Iraq's population lives in the flat, alluvial plain stretching southeast from Tikrit to the Persian Gulf. The Tigris and the Euphrates carry about 70 million cubic meters of silt annually from this plain down to the delta. The water from these two great rivers, and the fertility of the soil in the alluvial plain and the delta, allowed early agriculture to sustain a stable population as far back as the 7th millennium BC.

Population[edit]

40,194,216 (2018 estimate),[11] 37,202,572 (2016 estimate),[16] up from 31,234,000 (April 2009 IMF estimate)[17]

Iraq fertility rate by region (2006)[18]
  5–6
  4–5
  3–4
  2–3

Vital statistics[edit]

UN estimates[19][edit]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR1 CDR1 NC1 TFR1 IMR1
1950–1955 327,000 158,000 169,000 53.2 25.8 27.5 7.30 197.6
1955–1960 297,000 133,000 164,000 42.6 19.1 23.5 6.20 152.9
1960–1965 343,000 122,000 221,000 43.3 15.4 27.9 6.60 120.7
1965–1970 430,000 121,000 309,000 46.5 13.1 33.4 7.40 96.0
1970–1975 475,000 121,000 354,000 43.6 11.1 32.5 7.15 76.4
1975–1980 526,000 124,000 402,000 41.2 9.8 31.5 6.80 60.4
1980–1985 571,000 185,000 387,000 39.1 12.6 26.5 6.35 48.9
1985–1990 638,000 132,000 505,000 38.8 8.0 30.8 6.15 41.8
1990–1995 719,000 105,000 614,000 38.2 5.6 32.6 5.65 43.4
1995–2000 836,000 119,000 717,000 37.9 5.4 32.5 5.19 38.1
2000–2005 960,000 144,000 816,000 34.9 5.6 29.3 4.66 35.9
2005–2010 1,079,000 187,000 892,000 34.9 5.8 29.1 4.55 34.6
2010–2015 34.5 5.3 29.2 4.55
2015–2020 32.5 4.9 27.6 4.27
2020–2025 30.6 4.7 25.9 4.01
2025–2030 29.1 4.6 24.5 3.79
2030–2035 27.8 4.6 23.2 3.58
2035–2040 26.7 4.7 22.0 3.40
1 CBR = crude birth rate (per 1,000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1,000); NC = natural change (per 1,000); TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1,000 births

Births and deaths[20][21]

Year Population (×1,000) Live births Deaths Natural increase Crude birth rate Crude death rate Rate of natural increase TFR
2013 1,077,645 189,118 888,527
2014 36,004,552
2018 3.6

Fertility ages average in 1997–2006[22][23][edit]

Age groups 1997 2006
15–19 56.2 68
20–24 210 187
25–29 276.2 221
30–34 257.9 188
35–39 196.5 136
40–44 101.4 56
45–49 31 9
Total 1,128.2 865
TFR 4.3

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

Average life expectancy at age 0 of the total population.[24]

Period Life expectancy in
Years
Period Life expectancy in
Years
1950–1955 37.9 1985–1990 64.3
1955–1960 44.9 1990–1995 67.4
1960–1965 50.9 1995–2000 69.1
1965–1970 56.4 2000–2005 68.9
1970–1975 59.5 2005–2010 68.0
1975–1980 61.7 2010–2015 69.2
1980–1985 59.0

Structure of the population[20][edit]

Structure of the population (1 July 2013) (Estimates) :

Age group Male Female Total %
Total 17,710,750 17,083,444 34,794,194 100
0–4 2,495,131 2,405,862 4,900,993 14.09
5–9 2,374,908 2,191,807 4,566,714 13.12
10–14 2,232,712 2,048,891 4,281,603 12.31
15–19 1,937,714 1,825,963 3,763,677 10.82
20–24 1,701,884 1,593,679 3,295,563 9.47
25–29 1,424,739 1,316,462 2,741,201 7.88
30–34 1,176,433 1,134,882 2,311,316 6.64
35–39 983,570 1,044,325 2,027,895 5.83
40–44 933,785 897,936 1,831,722 5.26
45–49 746,884 763,311 1,510,195 4.34
50–54 508,498 562,274 1,070,772 3.08
55–59 356,581 393,511 750,093 2.16
60–64 345,830 378,456 724,285 2.08
65–69 187,626 218,991 406,617 1.17
70–74 133,277 138,375 271,651 0.78
75–79 81,742 90,630 172,373 0.50
80+ 89,436 78,087 167,523 0.48
Age group Male Female Total Percent
0–14 8,005,327 7,674,802 15,680,129 39.01
15–24 3,976,085 3,829,086 7,805,171 19.24
25–54 6,900,984 6,752,797 13,653,781 33.97
55–64 788,602 839,291 1,627,893 4.05
65+ 632,753 794,489 1,427,242 3.55

Ethnic and religious groups[edit]

Ethnic and religious groups in Iraq

Iraq's dominant ethnic group are the Mesopotamian Arabs, who account for more than three-quarters of the population.

According to the CIA World Factbook, citing a 1987 Iraqi government estimate,[25] the population of Iraq is formed of 70% Arabs followed by 25% Kurds.[25] In addition, the estimate claims that other minorities form 5% of the country's population, including the Turkmen/Turcoman, Yazidis, Shabaks, Kaka'i, Bedouins, Roma, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Circassians, Sabaean-Mandaean, and Persians.[25] However, the International Crisis Group points out that figures from the 1987 census, as well as the 1967, 1977, and 1997 censuses, "are all considered highly problematic, due to suspicions of regime manipulation" because Iraqi citizens were only allowed to indicate belonging to either the Arab or Kurdish ethnic groups;[26] consequently, this skewed the number of other ethnic minorities, such as Iraq's third largest ethnic group – the Turkmens/Turkomans.[26]

A report published by the European Parliamentary Research Service suggests that in 2015 there was 20 million Arabs (15 million Shia and 9 million Sunni); 8 million Sunni Kurds (plus 500,000 Shia Feylis and 200,000 Kaka'i); 0.5 million Iraqi Turkmen/Turkoman; 1 million Black Iraqis; 500,000 Christians[27] (including Chaldeans, Syriacs, Assyrians, Armenians and Arab Christians); 500,000 Yazidis; 250,000 Shabaks; 50,000 Roma; 3,000 Sabean-Mandaeans; 2,000 Circassians; 1,000 Baha’i; and a few dozen Jews.[28]

Kurds are the largest minority in Iraq. They are a Northwestern Iranic ethnic group who began migrating into various regions of Ancient Assyria in northern Iraq from Persian Azerbaijan in the period prior to the establishment of Abbasid rule in AD 750.[29] According to most scholars, the Kurds formed a pastoral and tribal society.[30][31] Today, Kurds comprise between 23% to 25% of the country's population, and they have one of the highest birth rates of any group in Iraq (and the Middle East).[32]

Languages[edit]

Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages of Iraq. Arabic is taught across all schools in Iraq, however in the north the Kurdish language is the most spoken. Eastern Aramaic languages, such as Syriac and Mandaic are spoken, as well as the Iraqi Turkoman language, and various other indigenous languages.

Kurdish, including several dialects, is the second largest language and has regional language status in the north of the country. Aramaic, in antiquity spoken throughout the whole country, is now only spoken by the Assyrian Chaldean minority. The Iraqi Turkmen/Turkoman dialect of Turkish is spoken in pockets of northern Iraq (particularly in the so-called Turkmeneli region) and numerous languages of the Caucasus are also spoken by minorities, notably the Chechen community.

Religions[edit]

Religion in Iraq (est. 2003)

  Shia Islam (57%)
  Sunni Islam (35%)
  Christianity (3%)
  Yazidism (2%)
  Other religion (3.8%)

97% of Iraqis follow Islam: 61% Shia and 34% Sunni. 1% of these describe themselves as "Just a Muslim".[33] According to the CIA World Factbook, Shias make up 64% of population, while Sunnis make up 31%. Christianity accounts for 3–5%, and the rest practice Yazidism, Mandaeism, and other religions.

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 Saddam Hussein in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon (2010 estimate).[25] The percentage of Christians has fallen from 6% in 1991 or 1.5 million to about one third of this. Estimates say there are 500,000 Christians in Iraq.[34]

Nearly all Iraqi Kurds are Sunni Muslims. A survey in Iraq concluded that "98% of Kurds in Iraq identified themselves as Sunnis and only 2% identified as Shias".[35] The religious differences between Sunni Arabs and Sunni Kurds are small. While 98 percent of Shia Arabs believe that visiting the shrines of saints is acceptable, 71 percent of Sunni Arabs did and 59 percent of Sunni Kurds support this practice.[35] About 94 percent of the population in Iraqi Kurdistan is Muslim.[36]

Demographic statistics[edit]

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.[37]

Age structure[edit]

0–14 years: 39.01% (male 8,005,327/female 7,674,802)
15-24 years: 19.42% (male 3,976,085/female 3,829,086)
25-54 years: 33.97% (male 6,900,984/female 6,752,797)
55-64 years: 4.05% (male 788,602/female 839,291)
65 years and over: 3.55% (male 632,753/female 794,489) (2018 est.)

Ethnic groups[edit]

Arab: 70%
Kurd: 15%
Turkoman: 10–13%
Chaldean, Assyrian and Other: 5%

Religions[edit]

Shia: 64%
Sunni: 31%
Christian: 2–5%, as low as 0.6% in 2017, down from 6% in 2003[38] and halved from 1.8 million to 900,000 or as high as 1.2 million in 2013
Yarsani: 2%
Yazidi: 1.4%
Shabak: 2%
Zoroastrianism: 0.6%
Mandaeism: 0.1%
Hinduism: 0.1%
Buddhism: 0.1%
Folk religion: 0.1%
Unaffiliated: 9%
Other 0.1%
Jewish 0.00001%

Languages[edit]

Arabic (official)
Kurdish (official)
Iraqi Turkmen/Turkoman dialect, a dialect of Turkish (official only in majority speaking area)
Assyrian Chaldean (Neo-Aramaic) (official only in majority speaking area)
Armenian

Median age[edit]

total: 20.2 years
male: 20 years
female: 20.5 years (2018 est.)

Population growth rate[edit]

2.5% (2018 est.)

Crude birth rate[edit]

30 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)

Crude death rate[edit]

3.8 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)

Total fertility rate[edit]

3.94 children born/woman (2018 est.)

Net migration rate[edit]

-1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)

Urbanization[edit]

urban population: 70.5% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 3.06% annual rate of change (2015–20 est.)

Sex ratio[edit]

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0–14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55–64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)

Maternal mortality rate[edit]

50 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate[edit]

total population: 37.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 40.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 34.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

total population: 74.9 years
male: 72.6 years
female: 77.2 years (2018 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate[edit]

51.5% (2011)

Health expenditures[edit]

5.5% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density[edit]

0.85 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density[edit]

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2014)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate[edit]

30.4% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight[edit]

8.5% (2011)

Nationality[edit]

noun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi

Literacy[edit]

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.7%
male: 85.7%
female: 73.7% (2015 est.)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC – History – Ancient History in depth: Mesopotamia". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  2. ^ Deutscher, Guy, 1969– (2000). Syntactic change in Akkadian : the evolution of sentential complementation. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 20–22. ISBN 9780191544835. OCLC 352917905.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Rassam, Suha (2009-12-31), "Der Mār Behnam – The Monastery of Saint Behnam", The Christian Heritage of Iraq, Gorgias Press, pp. 81–91, ISBN 9781463217136, retrieved 2019-05-01
  4. ^ "Northern Iraq 2017, page 3" (PDF).
  5. ^ "THE LANGUAGES OF IRAQ: ANCIENT AND MODERN" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Aramaic was the medium of everyday writing, and it provided scripts for writing." (1997). Humanism, Culture, and Language in the Near East : Studies in Honor of Georg Krotkoff. Krotkoff, Georg., Afsaruddin, Asma, 1958–, Zahniser, A. H. Mathias, 1938–. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns. ISBN 9781575065083. OCLC 747412055.
  7. ^ Tradition and modernity in Arabic language and literature. Smart, J. R., Shaban Memorial Conference (2nd : 1994 : University of Exeter). Richmond, Surrey, U.K. p. 253. ISBN 9781136788123. OCLC 865579151.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ Sanchez, Francisco del Rio. ""Influences of Aramaic on dialectal Arabic", in: Archaism and Innovation in the Semitic Languages. Selected papers".
  9. ^ Muller-Kessler, Christa (July 2003). "Aramaic k, lyk and Iraqi Arabic aku, maku: The Mesopotamian Particles of Existence". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 123 (3): 641. doi:10.2307/3217756. ISSN 0003-0279.
  10. ^ Mitchell, T. F. (1990–1993). Pronouncing Arabic. Oxford [England]: Clarendon Press. p. 37. ISBN 0198151519. OCLC 18020063.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  11. ^ a b "Middle East :: Iraq — The World Factbook – Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  12. ^ "Minorities in Iraq – European Research Service" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Iraq prepping to conduct a census in 2020". www.rudaw.net. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  14. ^ "Minorities in Iraq – European Research Service" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Christian areas hit by Baghdad bombs". 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  16. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Iraq". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
  18. ^ "Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2006 – unicef statistics" (PDF). Unicef. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
  19. ^ World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision
  20. ^ a b http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dyb2.htm
  21. ^ https://www.unicef.org/iraq/media/481/file
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ http://www.childinfo.org/files/MICS3_Iraq_FinalReport_2006_eng.pdf
  24. ^ "World Population Prospects – Population Division – United Nations". esa.un.org. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  25. ^ a b c d "Iraq". The World Factbook. 22 June 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds: Conflict or Cooperation?" (PDF). International Crisis Group. 2008. p. 16. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  27. ^ "MINORITIES IN IRAQ: European Research Service" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Minorities in Iraq Pushed to the brink of existence" (PDF). European Parliamentary Research Service. 2015. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  29. ^ Aboona, H. (2008). Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: Intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press. p. 92 – 95
  30. ^ Aboona, H (2008). Assyrians and Ottomans: intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire. Cambria Press. . ISBN 978-1-60497-583-3. page 89-105
  31. ^ According to Aboona, Kurds were "less disposed to adopt civilisation than the Persians and Turks that adopted Islam at its advance". In the region of Sulaimaniyah in 1820–1821, Kurds were still chiefly pastoral nomads, and four out of five were still living as such. Aboona, H (2008). Assyrians and Ottomans: intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire. Cambria Press. . ISBN 978-1-60497-583-3. page 89-105
  32. ^ On the Margins of Nations: Endangered Languages and Linguistic Rights. Foundation for Endangered Languages. Conference, Joan A. Argenter, R. McKenna Brown – 2004
  33. ^ http://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-1-religious-affiliation/
  34. ^ "MINORITIES IN IRAQ: EU Research Service" (PDF).
  35. ^ a b http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/08/20/who-are-the-iraqi-kurds/
  36. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-mansfield/religious-neutrality-iraqi-kurdistan_b_1587042.html
  37. ^ "Middle East :: IRAQ". CIA The World Factbook. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  38. ^ https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2017/06/half-syria-iraqs-christians-left-since-2011-says-report/

External links[edit]