The population of Iraq crosses religious, ethnic, and cultural lines. For purposes of this article, Iraq demographics will be dissected in the following ways:
- ethnic group
- vital statistics
- literacy and education
- urban and rural populations
First, however, it’s useful to get a big picture look at the Iraqi population. The CIA estimates that the country’s total population as of July 2012 will be a little over 31 million people. This will make it the 39th most populous nation in the world. Its overall growth rate is a bit above two percent per year, which makes it the 33rd fastest growing nation. Iraqi women average slightly more than 3.5 children born per woman. Also helping the country’s growth rate is the fact that it suffers fewer than 5 deaths per one thousand people.
The overwhelming majority of Iraqis, around 97 percent, are Muslim. The other three percent of the population are Christian, Yazidi, Manadean, or Jewish. The ethnic makeup of Iraq is between 75 to 80 percent Arab and between 15 to 20 percent Kurdish. The final five percent or so of the country’s ethnic makeup fall into one of the following groups: Turkoman, Assyrian, or Armenian.
Arabic is the official language of Iraq, although Kurdish is a secondary official language in the northern regions. Due to its ethnic diversity, Armenian, Assyrian, and a Turkish dialect of Turkoman can also be heard.
The male to female split in Iraqi demographics is almost fifty/fifty, with an estimated 1.03 males for every one female for the population in the 15-64 age group. The male to female ration is only slightly higher at birth, at 1.05 males for every one female. Iraq suffers a little over 40 deaths for every live birth, ranking it 62nd in the world in infant mortality.
The median age in Iraq is just over 20 years old. Life expectancy is almost 71 years old for the general population. Women in Iraq have a life expectancy of a bit over 72 years. As is typical, this is slightly longer than the life expectancy of its men, which is just under 70 years.
The population of Iraq is also highly literate, with almost 75 percent of its people over the age 15 able to read and write. There is however a significant distinction between the sexes on this point. While 84 percent of the men are literate, only 64 percent of the women are.
In 2010, almost two thirds of the population of Iraq lived in urban areas. It’s estimated that between 2010 and 2015, the annual rate of people moving into urban areas from rural ones will be 2.6 percent. Baghdad has, by far, the largest population with over 5.7 million inhabitants. The other major urban areas, ranging in population from almost 1.5 million down to 800,000, are Mosul, Erbil, Basra, and Sulaymaniyah.
Iraq demographics show a young (median age 20), literate (75 percent), and diverse community.