Iraq population expected to grow, says UN

Posted: 28 April 2003

Iraq's population is expected to grow from 23.2 million in 2002 to about 26.6 million in 2005, according to figures released this month by the United Nations Population Division.

In addition, approximately 1.1 million Iraqis are living outside the country, according to estimates by the division.

"These figures should be viewed with caution for several reasons," said Joseph Chamie, head of the division. "First, we do not have the 1997 census figures from Iraq. Our figures are based on the 1987 census."

"Second, these do not take into account the war, and many of the demographic consequences of the last decade which include higher mortality, fertility declines and changes in living conditions that can affect nutrition, illness and child-bearing," he said.

According to the UN estimates, Iraq's population is growing by 2.68 percent every year, about 666,000 annually. By mid-century, the country's population is projected to reach 58 million, the division said.

Half of Iraq's population is under the age of 19, and children born today have a life expectancy of 60.7 years. Iraqi women have an average of 4.77 children, but infant mortality is high, 83.3 per 1,000 births, according to the figures.

There were 179,000 Iraqis in Iran in 1996 and about 90,000 in the United States in 2000, according to census figures.

The Population Division said data were not readily available for Syria and Jordan though it estimated that between 50,000 and 180,000 Iraqis were in Jordan. There are also about 40,000 Iraqis in Germany and Sweden, according to the estimate.

Source: Associated Press, 10 April 2003 and IPPF, 14 April 2003.