Size: About 91,880 square kilometers.
Topography: Most of
East Bank (see Glossary) consists of
arid desert. Dead Sea lowest point on surface of earth (more than
400 meters below sea level). Jabal Ramm (1,754 meters) is Jordan's
highest point. Except for short coastline on Gulf of Aqaba, country
Population: In 1987 East Bank population--about 70
percent urban--2.9 million with annual growth rate variously given
as between 3.6 and 4 percent.
Languages: Almost all Jordanians speak a dialect of
Arabic as mother tongue; increasing numbers speak or understand
Modern Standard Arabic. Most of those people who have another
native language (e.g., Circassians, Armenians) also speak Arabic.
Ethnic Groups: Significant distinction between
Palestinians (see Glossary)
--estimated 55 to 60 percent of
Transjordanians (see Glossary).
Small numbers of
non-Arabs originating elsewhere include Circassians, Shishans
(Chechens), Armenians, and Kurds.
Religion: Most Jordanians
Sunni (see Glossary) Muslims;
Shia (see Glossary) Muslims. Christians (Eastern
Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics, a few
Protestants) constitute between 5 and 8 percent of population. Also
other small religious groups, such as Druzes and Bahais.
Education: First six years (primary) and next three years
(preparatory) compulsory and free; grades ten through twelve
(secondary) also free. In 1987 more than 900,000 students enrolled
in 3,366 schools with approximately 39,600 teachers. Nearly 68
percent of adult population literate; nearly 100 percent of ten-to-fifteen
Health: Water shortage and concomitant sanitary problems
contribute to health problems. Steady increase in health facilities
and medical personnel in major urban areas. Following adoption of
primary health care concept, facilities and personnel better
distributed in rural areas than in past. In 1986 life expectancy at
birth was sixty-five years.
Data as of December 1989