Iraq’s Population Continues to Grow, Despite the War

With thanks to James Gordon for the photo of an Iraqi family.
With thanks to James Gordon for the photo of an Iraqi family.

According to the United Nations, almost 8,000 civilians and more than 1,000 of the security forces in Iraq were killed in 2013, the highest number for years. Since foreign troops entered the country in 2003, estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed have ranged from 100,000 to more than a million. Yet despite this, the overall population has been growing at a steady rate.

With around 25 million people in Iraq in 2003, the number today stands at around 33 million, a rise of almost one-third. However, this is not necessarily entirely accurate, especially when you consider there has not been a census carried out in Iraq since 1997. So if the population has in fact, risen, then it has done so despite the increasing deaths on an annual basis in the conflict, and despite the numerous refugees, which currently stands at between two to three million.

One may ask how this is possible, but according to Patrick Gerland from the United Nation’s Demographic and Projections Section, it is simple: there have been more births than deaths. Many families have numerous children, an average of four or more, meaning that each year they are adding roughly 600,000 people to the population. Another factor is that Iraq has been unable to modernise its public health system, meaning it has struggled to keep up with providing health, education, housing and jobs among other things. So until it is able to do this, the birth rate will continue to rise.

More on this story can be found here.