Middle East

Iraq 10 years on: In numbers

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Ten years after the US-led invasion of Iraq - how much has changed? We look at the numbers behind the country that is still emerging from conflict.


Iraq is the world's third largest oil exporter, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia, and is expected to produce 3.6 million barrels of oil per day during 2013. Output before the US-led invasion was about 2.8 million barrels a day.

The country stands to earn almost $5 trillion in revenues from oil export by 2035, an average of $200bn a year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA says one of the main obstacles to Iraq's economic and social development is the lack of reliable electricity supply.

Before 2003, Baghdad is reported to have enjoyed 16-24 hours of electricity per day, while the rest of the country had about four to eight hours. The average household now receives just eight hours of electricity through the public network - distribution losses are the highest in the Middle East and mainly due to damage during the 1991 Gulf War, subsequent sabotage and a lack of maintenance.

Although oil contributes heavily to Iraq's gross domestic product (GDP), the country does not have the capacity to refine enough oil to meet its electricity needs.

But as well as being rich in oil reserves, Iraq also has large, underused gas reserves. Gas is set to become the dominant fuel for Iraq's electricity industry. There has already been a significant switch towards gas in electricity production, but more investment is needed to make the most of the natural gas and gas associated with oil production.

The IEA estimates that more than half of the gas produced in 2012 was "flared" or burned off, which it describes as "hugely wasteful given the continuing shortfall in electricity supply in Iraq". The US and Iraq have spent an estimated $213bn in post-war reconstruction, but the IEA suggests developing gas gathering and processing facilities, and bringing online new gas-fired power plants, should be urgent priorities for the Iraqi authorities.


As elsewhere, mobile phone usage and the internet has taken off considerably since 2003. Currently 78% of Iraqis own a mobile phone, but far fewer people use the internet - only about five in 100 people.

Despite the electricity problems, some everyday goods are more popular now than in 2003. According to an Iraqi government survey, private car ownership has fallen while the number of people with bikes or motorbikes has increased.

Ownership of everyday items


US and other coalition troops remained in Iraq in a combat role until 2010, as security operations were gradually handed over to Iraqis.

Some 4,488 US service personnel died in Iraq since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom on 19 March 2003, according to the latest figures from the US Department of Defense. British forces lost 179 personnel. But tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have also died since 2003 as a result of sectarian killings and a violent insurgency.

The Iraq Body Count organisation, which cross references reported deaths with official figures, says 4,571 civilians were killed in 2012, bringing the number of civilian deaths since March 2003 to between 112,017 and 122,438. The spike in numbers for 31 August 2005 represents the deaths of about 1,000 people in a stampede of Shia pilgrims on a river bridge in Baghdad. Witnesses said panic spread over rumours of suicide bombers.

Iraq Body Count says the most sustained period for high-level violence was from March 2006 to March 2008, when sectarian killings peaked and some 52,000 died.

"The country remains in a state of low-level war, little changed since early 2009," says the organisation, "with a 'background' level of everyday armed violence punctuated by occasional larger-scale attacks designed to kill many people at once."

Iraqi security forces have also suffered large losses, with police and military personnel targeted by car bombs and attacks.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says conditions in Iraq remain poor, particularly for detainees, journalists, activists, and women and girls. HRW reports that many Iraqi women, widowed by the conflict, violence or displacement, are vulnerable to trafficking for sexual exploitation and prostitution. Women's rights activists says they are at risk of attack from extremists, who also target female politicians, civil servants, and journalists. So-called honour crimes and domestic abuse are also reported to remain a threat to women and girls.

Iraq is a risky place for the media, with 151 journalists' deaths recorded by the Committee to Protect Journalists, although Iraq Body Count puts the figure at 288 journalists and media workers compared with 265 medics and health care workers. Iraq tops the ranking of deadliest countries for journalists, with more than double the number of journalists killed in the second-placed country, the Philippines.

The level of corruption in Iraq has failed to improve significantly since 2003.

According to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer, 56% of those interviewed reported paying a bribe in 2010. A majority of people (63%) feel government efforts to fight corruption have been ineffective and even more of those interviewed (77%) feel the level of corruption has increased since 2007.


Image copyright AFP

Almost 2.7 million Iraqis have been forced from their homes by the turmoil and violence - half becoming refugees outside Iraq, while others have fled their homes but stayed in the country.

The conflict in neighbouring Syria has forced thousands of Iraqis to return home alongside thousands of Syrians fleeing the fighting. Many are living in camps and settlements, and relying on humanitarian aid.

Iraqis are still seeking asylum in their tens of thousands - with 23,743 applying in 2011, mainly to European countries.


The number of people struggling to get enough food has fallen in recent years. The percentage of undernourished people, those who don't receive enough food to maintain a healthy life, has fallen from 7.1% in 2007 to 5.7% in 2011, according to the World Food Programme. But that is still about 1.9 million people. The worst-affected regions are Basra and Thi-Qar in the south, Baghdad and parts of Ninewa in the north.

Rations of flour, rice, cooking oil and sugar have been available since the 1990s under the Public Distribution System, as a way of helping the poorest families in the wake of war and sanctions. Government plans to change the $5bn-a-year system to cash handouts were scrapped last year after a public outcry.


Image copyright Hadi Mizban, AP

Iraq ranks lower than comparable Arab states of its size and population in a number of areas, according to the UN's latest Human Development Report.

Iraq's life expectancy at birth has increased from an average age of about 58.8 in 2000-2005 to 69.6 years - but that is still lower than Algeria's 73.4 and Saudi Arabia's 74.1 years.

The expected number of years of schooling is 10, about average for Arab states, but three to four years behind Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

In terms of gender equality, Iraq ranks 120 out of 148 countries. In Iraq, 25.2% of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 22% of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of education compared with 42.7% of men. Women's participation in the labour market is 14.5% compared with 69.3% for men.

By way of comparison, Algeria and Saudi Arabia are ranked at 74 and 145 on this index.