More about Iraq

The people

  • Population: 24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)
  • Life expectancy at birth: Total population: 67.38 years; female: 68.5 years; male: 66.31 years
  • Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%
  • Religions: Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
  • Languages: Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
  • Literacy: 58% of those age 15 and older can read and write The country
  • Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
  • Total area: 437,072 sq km, slightly more than twice the size of Idaho
  • Climate: Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq
  • Terrain: Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
  • Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur The government
  • Country name: Conventional long form: Republic of Iraq; conventional short form: Iraq; local short form: Al Iraq; local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
  • Capital: Baghdad
  • Independence: Oct. 3, 1932, from League of Nations mandate under British administration The economy
  • Iraq has proven crude reserves estimated at 112 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia. Oil resources could be three times that, because vast areas have yet to be explored. U.N. trade sanctions punish Iraq for 1990 invasion of Kuwait and cannot be lifted until Iraq proves it no longer has banned weapons. Sanctions have plunged once thriving economy into chaos. Limited U.N.-supervised oil sales meet people's basic needs. Sources: Central Intelligence Agency's "The World Factbook" and The Associated Press
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