Iraq: Key facts and figures
- 7 September 2010
- From the section Middle East
Seven years after it led the invasion of Iraq, the US now has fewer than 50,000 soldiers in the country and is due to have withdrawn all its troops by the end of 2011.
Billions of dollars have been spent on rebuilding the country's infrastructure, but there is still a long way to go.
STANDARD OF LIVING
Overall, 23% of Iraq's population lives below the poverty line (spending $2.20 per person per day), according to figures from the Iraqi government and the World Bank.
The latest report from the World Food Programme [pdf] in November 2008, described an estimated 3.1% of Iraqi households - 930,000 people - as "food insecure", living with hunger and fearing starvation. That represented a considerable improvement on 15.4%, the figure when the survey was last carried out in 2005.
However, the WFP also found a further 6.4 million people would be vulnerable to food insecurity without the Public Distribution System, which provides monthly food rations to 90% of the population.
In January 2010, there were approximately 1.3 million landline telephone subscriptions and 19.5 million mobile phone subscriptions, according to the Brookings Institution. That compares with a pre-war level of 833,000 landline subscriptions and no cellular network.
There are also now 1.6 million internet subscribers, compared with 4,600 before the US-led invasion.
The UN reported in 2004 that car ownership had doubled since 2003, but between then and the Iraq household socio-economic survey in 2007, the figure remained relatively static, rising to just above 25%.
According to data supplied by the ministry of electricity, Iraq is only generating 8,000 of the 13-15,000 megawatts (MW) of power required to meet Iraqi needs (50-60%). This figure does not include the Kurdistan region, where conditions are better.
The situation is worst for Iraq's internally displaced, where more than a third of households (37%) receive less than four hours of electricity per day. The lack of reliable electricity supply from the national grid has led to widespread use of backyard and neighbourhood generators.
Low electricity supplies are hampering the pumping of water to Iraqi households and severely restricting economic development.
WATER AND SANITATION
World Bank figures released in February 2010 show that potable water service is available to just under 70% of the population outside of Baghdad and can drop to as low as 48% in rural areas. In some areas, water is available only in the evening; and in many areas, village residents illegally tap into water pipelines.
In Baghdad, 25% of residents remain disconnected from the water supply network and rely on expensive alternative sources of drinking water, such as delivery by tankers.
According to Unesco, decreasing water supplies have been exacerbated by drought conditions between 2005 and 2009, which have devastated agriculture and decimated livestock.
Fewer homes are connected to wastewater sanitation systems than to potable water sources. According to the figures, less than 8% of the homes outside Baghdad are connected to sewerage systems.
An outbreak of cholera in August 2008 affected nine provinces in the country and was due to the poor standard of sanitation. According to the World Health Organization "outbreaks will recur in Iraq until access to safe water and proper sanitation is ensured for all people". Diarrhoea, a symptom of other waterborne diseases, was also reported to be on the increase.
Most coalition troops have withdrawn from Iraq. The last US combat brigade pulled out in mid-August, leaving fewer than 50,000 US Army personnel in the country. Under a US-Iraq deal, all American troops will leave the country by the end of 2011.
The number of deaths, military and civilian, is continuing to fall. Iraq Body Count (IBC) says 4,645 civilians were reported killed in violence in Iraq in 2009, which was about half the level in 2008 and the lowest annual total since the invasion in 2003.
At the end of April 2010, IBC said 1,010 civilians had been reported killed so far this year. The IBC counts reported deaths and then cross references them with official figures from Iraqi hospitals and ministries.
REFUGEES AND DISPLACED
The US government and others estimate that 1.5 million Iraqis fled their homes to other parts of Iraq or other countries to escape the sectarian conflict sparked by the 2006 Samarra mosque bombing.
It is believed that another 200,000 had already been displaced following the US-led invasion, while approximately one million people left Iraq during the rule of Saddam Hussein.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 427,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and 79,000 refugees returned to their areas of origin between January 2008 and July 2010. The number of those returning dropped by 29% in the first half of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009, UNHCR figures show.
However, there are still approximately one million Iraqi refugees abroad and 1.55 million IDPs, a third of whom are living in settlements or camp-like situations in extremely poor conditions, it says.
The UNHCR registered nearly 35,000 refugees inside Iraq at the end of 2009, mostly Palestinians, Syrians and Iranians. They are primarily located in the areas administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad. In addition there are 3,800 asylum-seekers from Iran, Syria and Turkey.
A refugee camp for Palestinians in the desert near the Syrian border was recently closed and the occupants moved over the border into Syria, but a further 10,000 remain - mostly in Baghdad.
Iraq relies on oil for over 40% of its gross domestic product and over 90% of government revenues. It has the fourth largest proven oil reserves in the world, with about 10% of the world's oil reserves, according to the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).
Oil production figures dipped at the start of the invasion but have since remained relatively buoyant. As of April, 2.41 million barrels of oil a day were being produced, still well below the 1979 peak of 3.5 million barrels a day.
The number of Iraqis employed in the public sector has doubled since 2005, with the public sector currently providing 43% of all jobs in Iraq and almost 60% of all full-time employment. But constraints on the federal budget caused by the drop in global oil prices have curtailed new public sector recruitment.
Unemployment stands at 15% and a further 28% of the workforce is underemployed, which may increase in the coming years, particularly amongst youth, according to a UN analysis of 2008 figures from Iraq's Central Organisation for Statistics and Information Technology.
The number of unemployed people below the age of 34 amounts to more than one million people, three-quarters of them male.
Only 18% of women are employed.
Young people were increasingly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity as 450,000 entered the labour market facing limited job prospects, the UN report said.