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Iraq’s population hits highest level yet: planning ministry

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The population of Iraq has hit its highest figure so far at over 41 million, according to a statement released by the Iraqi planning ministry on Monday based on figures from the end of 2021.

Announcing its annual projections of the size of the population in December, including in the Kurdistan Region, the Iraqi Ministry of Planning estimated the total number of people in the country to amount to 41,190,658; a million more than last year, when Iraq’s population hit the 40 million figure for the first time in its one-hundred year history.

The ministry also published the figures of Iraq’s urban and rural population, estimating that 69.9 percent of those in the country, 28,779,201 people, live in urban areas. The population living rurally, according to the statement, is just 30 percent of the total population in Iraq, standing at 12,411,457 people.

Climate-induced displacement has been attributed to the changing demographics, with tracking data last month showing that thousands of families across Iraq continue to be displaced from their homes in rural parts of the country due to drought.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, the population of Baghdad was reported as the highest-populated governorate containing more than 8 million inhabitants; over a fifth of the entire country’s population. The rural, southern province of Muthanna, which borders Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, contained the smallest population.

The Kurdistan Region’s population growth rate is lower than Iraq’s.

In 2020, the Region’s population stood at 6,171,000, according to figures provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) statistics office in November. The data estimated the number to reach 8.8 million by 2040.

Over forty percent of Iraq’s population are under the age of 15, and the country’s population has been projected to double to a staggering 80 million by 2050, putting increasing strain on the country running out of water, with devastating consequences on employment and the economy predicted.

Source: Rudaw, 4. January 2022

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