What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Jordan?

The streets of Amman, Jordan. Editorial credit: Fotokon / Shutterstock.com.
The streets of Amman, Jordan. Editorial credit: Fotokon / Shutterstock.com.

Jordan is an Arab nation found in West Asia sharing its borders with Syria, Israel, Iraq, Palestinian territory of West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. The country has a coastline on the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. The country is found at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The city of Amman is the country's capital city, and it is the largest city in the country and serves as the cultural, political, and economic center of Jordan. The region where it is now Jordan has had human habitation since the Paleolithic era. Towards the end of the Bronze Age, three major kingdoms emerged in the region which includes the Ammonite Kingdom, the Moabite Kingdom, and the Edomite Kingdom. Other kingdoms that emerged later exerting control over the region include the Nabataean Kingdom, the Roman, and the Ottoman Empire.


The Boudin people have historically lived in the desert regions of the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, Iraq, and the northern part of Africa. The word Boidin is derived from the Arabic word, which means a desert dweller. The Boudin covers fast deserts of the Middle East as well as the Northern part of Africa, and they share a common tradition of herding goats and camels, and they are divided into tribes or clans. As of 2007, it was estimated that there were 380,000 people of Boudin ethnic group in Jordan, and they accounted for about 1% of the country’s population. Although the community has been stereotyped as desert Nomads, it is no longer true because they have settled down and cultivate crops, while some have combined the two lifestyles. Those who still practice pastoralist camp in one area for months and they move to a different area after the pastures are exhausted.


Palestinians in Jordan are mainly Palestinian refugees who are currently residing in Jordan as well as Jordanian citizens having Palestinian ancestry. Most Palestinians migrated to Jordan as refugees between 1947 and 1967 and most of them today are descendants of the former refugees who have been fully naturalized in the country. There are no official figures in the country indicating the number of Palestinians in the country. However, 2.1 million Palestinians are registered as refugees in the country, and this does not include many Jordanians with Palestinian origin. Palestinians are concentrated mainly in the central and northern part of Jordan particularly in the Irbid governorate, Zarqa governorate, and Amman governorate.


The Circassians refer to the group of people who are non-Arab, and they are Muslims whose origin is traced to the Caucasus region in the western part of Asia. The expansion of the Russian Empire in the 19th century forced more than 2 million Circassians to migrate southwards. The majority of them perished along the way, but it is estimated that about 1 million managed to reach the Ottoman Empire and they stayed particularly in the Balkan region and later moved to the Levant region of the Middle East. The first Circassians arrived in Jordan in large numbers in around 1878 and settled in Na’ur, Wadi Seer, and Amman. Presently, Circassian people are found in Azraq, Zarqa, Sweileh, and Jerash among other regions in Jordan. It is estimated that their population range between 20,000 and 80,000.


Armenians in Jordan refer to the ethnic Armenians in the country who are estimated to be about 3,000 in total and about 2,500 adhere to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Armenians in the country speak Western Armenian dialect, and they account for a larger portion of non-Arab Christian Community in the country. Between 1930 and 1946, about 6,000 Armenians were living in Jordan. Following the Israeli-Arab conflict of 1948, there was a wave of immigration from Palestine to Jordan, which increased the population of the Armenians to about 10,000. After the Six-Day conflict between Israel and Arab in 1967, there were a large number of immigrants of Armenians from Jordan. Others moved to different countries such as Canada, Australia, and the US. The trend continued in the 1970s, reducing the population of the Armenians about 3,000.


The Assyrians in Jordan are the migrants of the Assyrian origin living in Jordan and their descendants. It was estimated that about 1,000 people in Jordan were of the Assyrian origin, according to the estimates of May 2007. They came as refugees from the northern part of Iraq, which is one of the four regions known as their indigenous homes or the Assyrian homeland. The Assyrians were native to the present-day northern part of Iraq, Southeastern region of Turkey, the northwestern part of Iran, and the North-Eastern part of Syria. Presently, they are found within the city of Amman, and they adhere to the Syriac Orthodox Church as well as the Assyrian Church of the East.

Iraqis in Jordan

The population of Iraqis in Jordan is estimated to be about 200,000, although the exact figures are not known. There have been two major immigration waves of Iraqis to Jordan, and the first one was in the 1990s following the 1991 gulf war. Saddam's brutal repression of the Shia Muslims and Kurds saw thousands of Iraqis migrating to the neighboring country of Iran, but after 1995, Jordan became the favorite destination for most of Iraqis to settle or as a transit point to other countries. According to the Jordanian immigration authorities, the numbers of Iraqi nationals who have entered and left Jordan from 1990 to 2007 are about 547,000 people.


Kurds in Jordan are estimated to be about 30,000, and they are believed to have lived in the country since 1173. They live mainly in cities such as Amman, Zarqa, and Salt. The Kurds who were in the military in the Ottoman Empire settled in the Salt City. Between 1920 and 1930s, many Kurds fled Turkey to Jordan because of the massacre during the time. More Kurds arrived from Palestine during the 1967 Palestinian exodus. During the Gulf War, many more Kurds moved to Jordan as refugees. Besides, there are many Iranian Kurds who live in Jordan who moved into the country during the Iranian revolution. The former Prime Minister of Jordan Saad Jumaa had a Kurdish ancestry.


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