The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Center for Army Lesson Learned Logo

Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team Handbook

Handbook 11-03
December 2010

CALL Handbook 11-03: Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team Handbook

Appendix B - National and Provincial Data for Iraq

Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Great Britain during the course of World War I. In 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under United Kingdom administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was Saddam Hussein.

Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by U.S.-led, United Nations (U.N.) coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow U.N. verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime. U.S. forces remained in Iraq under a UNSC mandate until 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter to help provide security and support the freely elected government.

In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives in December 2005. After the election, Ibrahim al-Jaafari was selected as prime minister; he was replaced by Nuri al-Maliki in May 2006. The Council of Representatives approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century. On 31 January 2009, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all provinces except for the three provinces comprising the Kurdistan Regional Government ([KRG] Dohuk, Erbil, and Suleimaniah)and in Kirkuk province.

Demographic and Government Information

Population of Iraq: 28,945,657 (July 2009 estimate)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 38.8% (male 5,709,688/female 5,531,359)
15-64 years: 58.2% (male 8,529,956/female 8,310,164)
65 years and over: 3% (male 408,266/female 456,224) (2009 estimate)

Median age:

Total: 20.4 years
Male: 20.3 years
Female: 20.5 years (2009 estimate)

Population growth rate:

2.507% (2009 estimate)
Country comparison to the world: 32

Birth rate:

30.1 births/1,000 population (2009 estimate)
Country comparison to the world: 49

Death rate:

5.03 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 estimate)
Country comparison to the world: 188

Net migration rate: Not applicable (2009)


Urban population: 67% of total population (2008)
Rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 estimate)

Sex ratio:

At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2009 estimate)

Infant mortality rate:

Total: 43.82 deaths/1,000 live births
Country comparison to the world: 60
Male: 49.38 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 37.98 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 estimate)

Life expectancy at birth:

Total population: 69.94 years
Country comparison to the world: 144
Male: 68.6 years
Female: 71.34 years (2009 estimate)

Total fertility rate:

3.86 children born/woman (2009 estimate)
Country comparison to the world: 48

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

Less than 0.1% (2001 estimate)
Country comparison to the world: 154

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Fewer than 500 (2003 estimate)
Country comparison to the world: 148

HIV/AIDS - deaths: Not applicable

Major infectious diseases:

Degree of risk: Intermediate Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever.

(Note: Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among U.S. citizens who have close contact with birds [2009].)


Noun: Iraqi(s)
Adjective: Iraqi

Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%; Kurdish 15%-20%; Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%

Religions: Muslim 97% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%); Christian or other 3%

Languages: Arabic; Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions); Turkoman (a Turkish dialect); Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic); Armenian


Definition: Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 74.1%
Male: 84.1%
Female: 64.2% (2000 estimate)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

Total: 10 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 8 years (2005)


Conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
Conventional short form: Iraq
Local long form: Jumhuriyat al-Iraq
Local short form: Al Iraq

Government type: Parliamentary democracy


Name: Baghdad
Time difference: Universal Time Code+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

18 governorates or provinces: Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Babil, Baghdad, Duhok, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala, Maysan, Ninawa, Salah al Din, and Wasit

1 region: KRG

Independence: 3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration).

(Note: On 28 June 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi-controlled government.)

National holiday: Republic Day, 14 July 1958.

(Note: The government of Iraq has yet to declare an official national holiday but still observes Republic Day.)

Constitution: Ratified on 15 October 2005 (subject to review by the Constitutional Review Committee and a possible public referendum).

Legal system: Based on European civil and Islamic law under the framework outlined in the Iraqi constitution; has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal.

Executive branch:

Chief of state: President Jalal Talabani (since 6 April 2005); Vice Presidents Adil Abd al-Mahdi and Tariq al-Hashimi (since 22 April 2006).

(Note: The president and vice presidents comprise the Presidency Council.)

Head of government: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (since 20 May 2006); Rafi al-Issawi (since 19 July 2008).

Cabinet: 36 ministers appointed by the Presidency Council, plus Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Deputy Prime Ministers Barham Salih and Rafi al-Issawi.

Legislative branch: Unicameral Council of Representatives (consisting of 275 members elected by a closed-list, proportional representation system).

Elections: Last held 15 December 2005 to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives; next elections to be held on 18 January 2010. The Council of Representatives elected the Presidency Council and approved the prime minister and two deputy prime ministers.

Election results, Council of Representatives: Percent of vote by party: Unified Iraqi Alliance, 41%; Kurdistan Alliance, 22%; Tawafuq Coalition, 15%; Iraqi National List, 8%; Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, 4%; Other, 10%.

Number of seats by party (as of November 2007): Unified Iraqi Alliance (including the Sadrist bloc with 30 and Fadilah with 15), 130; Kurdistan Alliance, 53; Tawafuq Front, 44; Iraqi National List, 25; Fadilah, 15; Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, 11; Other, 12.

Judicial branch: The Iraq constitution calls for the federal judicial power to be comprised of the Higher Judicial Council, Federal Supreme Court, Federal Court of Cassation, Public Prosecution Department, Judiciary Oversight Commission, and other federal courts that are regulated in accordance with the law.

Political parties and leaders:

Assyrian Democratic Movement [Yunadim Kanna]; Badr Organization [Hadi al-Aamari]; Constitutional Monarchy Movement [Sharif Ali Bin al-Husayn]; Da'wa al-Islamiya Party [Nuri al-Maliki]; General Conference of Iraqi People [Adnan al-Dulaymi]; Independent Iraqi Alliance [Falah al-NaQib]; Iraqi Communist Party [Hamid Majid]; Iraqi Front for National Dialogue [Salih al-Mutlaq]; Iraqi Hizballah [Karim Mahmud al-Muhammadawi]; Iraqi Independent Democrats [Adnan Pachachi, Mahdi al-Hafiz]; Iraqi Islamic Party [Tariq al-Hashimi]; Iraqi National Accord [Ayad Allawi]; Iraqi National Congress [Ahmad Chalabi]; Iraqi National Council for Dialogue [Khalaf Ulayan al-Khalifawi al-Dulaymi]; Iraqi National Unity Movement [Ahmad al-Kubaysi]; Islamic Action Organization [Ayatollah Muhammad al-Mudarrisi]; Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq [Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim]; Jama'at al Fadilah [Muhammad Ali al-Yaqubi]; Kurdistan Democratic Party [Masud Barazani]; Kurdistan Islamic Union [Salah ad-Din Muhammad Baha al-Din]; Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [Jalal Talabani]; Sadrist Trend [Muqtada al-Sadar] (not an organized political party, but it fields independent candidates affiliated with Muqtada al-Sadr); Sahawa al-Iraq [Ahmad al-Rishawi].

(Note: The Kurdistan Alliance, Iraqi National List, Tawafuq Front, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, and Unified Iraqi Alliance were only electoral slates consisting of the representatives from the various Iraqi political parties.)

Political pressure groups: Sunni militias; Shia militias, some associated with political parties

International organization participation:

Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa; Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development; Arab Monetary Fund; Council of Arab Economic Unity; Food and Agriculture Organization; Group of 77; International Atomic Energy Agency; International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank); International Civil Aviation Organization; International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; International Development Association; Islamic Development Bank; International Fund for Agricultural Development; International Finance Corporation; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; International Labor Organization; International Monetary Fund; International Maritime Organization; International Olympic Committee; International Organization for Standardization; International Telecommunication Union; Nonaligned Movement; Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries; Organization of the Islamic Conference; Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries; Permanent Court of Arbitration; United Nations; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; United Nations Industrial Development Organization; Universal Postal Union; World Federation of Trade Unions; World Health Organization; World Intellectual Property Organization; World Meteorological Organization World Trade Organization (observer)

Diplomatic representation from the United States:

Chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher R. Hill

Embassy: Baghdad

Mailing address: APO AE 09316

Telephone: 1-240-553-0589 ext. 5340 or 5635 (Consular Section)

Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black. The Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great") in green Arabic script is centered in the white band. The Council of Representatives approved this flag as a compromise temporary replacement for the Ba'athist Saddam-era flag.

Graphic showing Iraq flag
Figure B-1

U.S. Department of Agriculture Information on Iraq

Iraq is an important country in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) portfolio, both in terms of capacity building and agricultural trade. The renewal of the trade relationship with Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime has seen U.S. exports of wheat, rice, and poultry grow to reach $1 billion in fiscal year 2008. Iraq is currently the fourth largest market for U.S. rice and the fifth largest market for U.S. wheat and poultry. USDA's agricultural strategy for Iraq is aimed at developing a dynamic food and agricultural system that is characterized as competitive, sustainable, and globally integrated. These objectives are partially achieved by the placement of USDA agricultural advisers in Iraq's Ministry of Agriculture and USDA agricultural advisers on provincial reconstruction teams and through technical assistance.

Major U.S. agricultural imports: Food, medicine, manufactured goods, and refined petroleum products

Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita: $3,600

Agriculture: 95% of GDP

Agricultural production: Wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, cotton, dates, cattle, and sheep

Major agricultural exports: Crude oil, crude materials excluding fuels, food, and live animals

Provincial Data

Al Anbar is the largest province in Iraq geographically. Encompassing much of the country's western territory, it shares borders with Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Al Anbar is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim Arab. Its capital is Ar Ramadi; other important cities include Fallujah and Haditha. The province was known as Dulaim until 1962, when it was changed to Ramadi. In 1976 it was renamed Al Anbar. Much of Al Anbar province consists of the Syrian Desert. The region's geography is a combination of steppe and true desert characterized by a desert climate, low rainfall, and a large variation in temperatures between day and night. Summer temperatures rise to 42 degrees Celsius, while the winter average lows reach 9 degrees Celsius. The northwesterly and southwesterly winds sometimes amount to a maximum speed of 21 miles per hour. Average rainfall in winter is 115 millimeters. The most important agricultural crops in Al Anbar are wheat, potatoes, autumn barley, maize and vegetables, and fodder. There are also a large number of orchards, and the province has 2.5 million palm trees. Agriculture depends on perfusion or through the rivers, wells, and rains. Most of the inhabitants are Sunni Muslims from the Dulaim tribe.

Provincial capital: Ramadi

Area: 138,228 square (sq) kilometers (km) (32% of Iraq)

Population: 1,485,985 (5% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 48%; Urban: 52%

Population by district: Al-Kaim 137,567; Haditha 78,656; Al-Rutba 30,066; Heet 129,004; Ana 21,865; Al-Ramadi 540,474; Falluja 529,598; Rawa 18,756.

Basra province, or Al Basrah province, is a province in southern Iraq bordering Kuwait to the south and Iran to the east. The provincial capital is Basra city. Other major cities include Al-Qurnah, Az Zubayr, and Umm Qasr near the Persian Gulf. In 1920, after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the United Kingdom combined the former Ottoman vilayets of Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul to form the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. The mandate was succeeded by the Kingdom of Iraq in 1932. A proposal to join Basra with the neighboring governorates of Dhi Qar and Maysan to form a southeastern state in an eventual Iraqi federation is currently under discussion. A new law, passed by the Iraqi Parliament in 2006, allows for the merger of two or more provinces as of April 2008. Currently, there is movement calling for a referendum on making Basra an autonomous region like the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. The province was formally transferred to full Iraqi control on 16 December 2007, making it the ninth such province to be transferred. In September 2009, three districts of Basra province were declared disaster areas as a result of Iran's construction of new dams on the Karun River. The new dams resulted in high levels of salinity in Shatt Al-Arab, which destroyed farm areas and threatened livestock. Civilians in the area were forced to evacuate.

Province capital: Basrah

Area: 19,070 sq km (4.4% of Iraq)

Population: 1,912,533 (6% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 21.8%; Urban: 78.2%

Population by district: Basrah 951,655; Al-Midaina 160,420; Al-Qurna 194,216; Shatt Al-Arab 104,089; Abu Al-Khaseeb 162,740; Al Zubair 320,523; Fao 18,890

Al Muthanna or sometimes simply Muthanna, is in southern Iraq, bordering Saudi Arabia. Its capital is Samawah. Prior to 1976 it was part of the Diwaniya province, which also included present-day Najaf province and Al-Qādisiyyah province. Muthanna also includes the ancient Sumerian ruin of Uruk, which is possibly the source of the name Iraq. On 13 July 2006, British, Australian, and Japanese forces handed over security responsibility for Muthanna province to Iraqi forces in the first such transfer of an entire province. Having suffered from chronic underdevelopment since the 1980s, Muthanna consistently fares poorly according to humanitarian and development indicators. Poverty and female illiteracy are widespread. Connection to the general water network is poor compared to the rest of Iraq, but electricity supplies are relatively reliable. The poor infrastructure and lack of urban centers mean that Muthanna has a relatively low number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Although the governor was assassinated in August 2008, the security situation remains calm.

Province capital: Samawah

Area: 51,740 sq km (11.9% of Iraq)

Population: 614,997 (2% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 56%; Urban: 44%

Population by district: Al-Samawa 255,215; Al-Rumaitha 257,117; Al-Salman 6,520; Al-Khidhir 86,145

Al-Qadisiyyah (Al-Diwaniyah) is in the center of Iraq. Its capital is ad-Diwāniyyah. Before 1976, it was part of the ad-Diwāniyyah province along with Al Muthanna governorate and Najaf governorate. The governorate is named for the historic town of Al-Qadisiyyah, site of the Battle of Al-Qadisiyyah, where in 636 CE (Christian Era) the Caliph Umar defeated the forces of the Persian Sassanid Empire, bringing Islam to all of modern Iraq and Iran. Al-Qadisiyyah became the tenth of Iraq's 18 provinces to reach provincial Iraqi control on 16 July 2008. In so doing, it reverted to its former name of Al-Diwaniyah. In spite of poor infrastructure and limited job opportunities, almost half (47 percent) of Al-Qadisiyyah's IDP population wish to settle in their current location. Three-quarters (77 percent) of IDPs in the governorate were displaced from Baghdad. The number of security incidents per month dropped by 85 percent in Qadissiya between June and December 2008. Levels of violence are now among the lowest in the country. Al-Qadisiyyah, like neighbouring Muthanna, performs poorly according to many humanitarian and developmental indicators. Poverty is widespread in all districts except Diwaniya. Female labor force participation is low except in Diwaniya, and female unemployment is high in all districts. Electricity supply from the main network is poor outside Afaq, with most households in Al-Shamiya and Hamza also unable to access an alternative source. Water and sanitation infrastructure is poor outside Diwaniya. Illiteracy and poor education are severe among men and women in Al-Shamia and Hamza and also among women in Afaq.

Provincial capital: Diwaniya

Area: 8153 sq km (1.9% of Iraq)

Population: 990,483 (3% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 48%; Urban: 52%

Population by district: Al-Diwaniya 440,927; Afaq 142,623; Al-Shamiya 230,974; Al-Hamza 175,959

Najaf province is located between Anbar and Muthanna. Prior to 1976 it was part of the Diwaniya province, which also included present-day Al Muthanna governorate and Al-Qadisiyyah governorate. On 20 December 2006, the Najaf governorate was the third governorate in Iraq to be handed over by the occupying coalition forces to Iraqi control. The capital is the city of Najaf, which is 160 km south of Baghdad. It is one of the holiest cities of Shia Islam and the center of Shia political power in Iraq. The other major city is Al Kufah. Both cities are holy to Shiite Muslims, who form the majority of the population. Najaf's IDP population is of average size compared to other governorates. Approximately 85 percent of Najaf's IDPs are originally from Baghdad and almost all are Shia. However, 95 percent wish to return to their homes. The security situation in Najaf remains calm. Najaf district (which contains the governorate capital) performs well according to many humanitarian and development indicators. However, the areas outside Najaf perform relatively poorly. Access to electricity is relatively reliable in Najaf and average elsewhere. Relatively few households outside Najaf have access to a secondary source of electricity for times when the normal network fails. Sanitation and access to safe water are poor in Al-Koufa and Al-Manathra. However, levels of chronic malnutrition are low across the governorate. Also, labor force participation is high among men in all districts and among women outside Najaf.

Province capital: Najaf

Area: 28,824 sq km (6.6% of Iraq)

Population: 614,997 (4% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 31.4%; Urban: 68.4%

Population by district: Najaf 567,340; Kufa 288,255; Al-Manathera 225,608

Erbil province is located in the north of the country. It derives its name from the city of Arbil, which is also its capital. Erbil is largely populated by Kurds but has a small minority of Assyrians. The governorate is a part of the Kurdistan autonomous region. The region's economy is largely agricultural with some oil production and was badly affected by the conflict between Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Kurds. On 30 May 2007, Erbil was handed over to local Iraqi authorities by coalition forces as part of a three province handover. Erbil hosts a considerable number of IDPs, who mostly come from Baghdad and Ninewa. Few of Erbil's residents are among Iraq's poorest, but the province does not perform well according to many other humanitarian and developmental indicators. Illiteracy rates in the governorate are generally above average. Female labor force participation is also low. Infrastructure is poor across the governorate: the vast majority of households in all districts except Koisnjaq suffer from prolonged power cuts, with few able to access an alternative electricity source. Sanitation is poor in all districts except Erbil, Dushty Howleer, Koisnjaq, and Makhmur. Most households in Shaqlawa, Juman, and Mergasur are not connected to the water network.

Province capital: Erbil

Area: 15,074sq km (3.5% of Iraq)

Population: 1,542,421 (5% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 24%; Urban: 76%

Population by district: Erbil 808,600; Dushty Howleer 216,759; Shaqlawa 150,659; Soran 181883; Juman 37,074; Kwesinjak 81,199; Makhmour 50,927; Merkeh Soor 50,316; Khabat 90,531

As Sulaymaniyah province is a province within the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Its capital is a city of the same name, As Sulaymaniyah. The province is surrounded by mountains (Goyzha, Azmir, Glazarda, and Piramagrun). When it was established under the Baban (1649-1850) dynasty in 1781 during the reign of Mahmud Pasha Baban, it was known by its former name "Namo" (later changed to Sulaymaniya). During the Iraq war, the province was occupied by U.S.-led coalition forces. On 30 May 2007, Sulaymānīyah was handed over to local Kurdish authorities by coalition forces as part of a three province handover. Few of As Sulaymaniyah's residents are among Iraq's poorest, but the governorate performs poorly according to many other developmental and humanitarian indicators. Education levels are generally below average: illiteracy is particularly severe among women in all districts apart from Sulaymaniyah and Halabja and for men in Penjwin, Sharbazher, and Pshdar. There are also widespread infrastructural problems, with all districts suffering from prolonged power cuts. Penjwin, Said Sadik, Sharbazher, and particularly Kardagh experience poor access to the water network.

Province capital: Sulaymaniyah

Area: 17,023sq km (3.9% of Iraq)

Population: 1893617 (6% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 30%; Urban: 70%

Population by district: Al-Sulaimaniya 751,459; Kardagh 13004; Shahrzour 61,845; Said Sadik 99,455; Halabcha 95,552; Penjwin 57,347; Shahrabazar 46,308; Pishder 121,971; Rania 200,826; Dokan 73992; Darbandikhan 45,169; Kalar 192,474; Kifri 52961; Chamchamal 183,758

Kirkuk province is located in the north of the country. From 1976 to mid-2006, it had been called At-Ta'mim (Kurdish: Kerkûk), which means "nationalization" and refers to the national ownership of the very rich oil and natural gas reserves. Prior to 1976 it was called Kirkuk Governorate and was a larger area that also included parts that were then added to the neighboring As Sulaymaniyah, Diyala, and Salah ad Din provinces. Since mid 2006 the original pre-Ba'ath name was restored, and the province is now known as the "Kirkuk province," but without any alteration in the boundaries back to the pre-1976 area. The provincial capital is the city of Kirkuk. Kirkuk is a very ethnically diverse province, with a significant minority of Arabs, Turkomans, and Assyrians. Kurdish people consider Kirkuk to be their holy place. The U.S. Army estimated in 2009 that Kurds comprised 52 percent of the population, Arabs 35 percent, and Turkoman 12 percent. Kirkuk is at the center of a political controversy - a referendum on the province joining the Kurdish autonomous region. Kirkuk province performs well compared to the rest of Iraq according to most humanitarian and development indicators. Daquq district is the least developed area in the province, with below average education levels, a high poverty rate, and poor infrastructure. Significant numbers of the population in Kirkuk district suffer from chronic disease.

Province capital: Kirkuk

Area: 9,679 sq km (2.2% of Iraq)

Population: 902,019 (3% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 31%; Urban: 69%

Population by district: Kirkuk 572,080; Al-Hawiga 215,193; Daquq 75,279; Dibis 39,467

Babil province is located in central Iraq. The provincial capital is the city of al Hillah. The city of Al Musayyib and the ancient ruins of Babylon (Babil, after which the region is named) are also in the province. Before 1971 it was known as Hilla province. The ancient city of Babylon in present-day Babil province was the capital of the Old Kingdom of Babylonia situated on the Euphrates River south of modern Baghdad, Iraq. The city was occupied from the third millennium B.C. but became important early in the second millennium under the kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon. The sixth king of this dynasty was Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C.), who made Babylon the capital of a vast empire and is best remembered for his code of laws. This period was brought to an end by the Hittites, when in 1595 B.C., Babylon was sacked by King Mursili I. The city then had a mixed history until the Neo-Babylonian period of the 7th to 6th centuries B.C. It once again achieved pre-eminence when Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B.C.) extended the Chaldean Empire over most of Western Asia. Babylon fell to Cyrus the Great of Persia in 539 B.C.; occupation continued in the Achaemenid period. The city was taken by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. More than five years after the start of the Iraq war, governance of Babil province was returned to Iraq on 23 October 2008. The ceremony took place between local representatives, representatives from Baghdad, and the U.S. Army. Babil performs on an average level according to most humanitarian and development indicators but poorly according to some. Poverty and access to safe water are major problems in all districts except Hilla. Electricity supplies are poor in all districts. However, female labor force participation and employment are well above average outside Hilla.

Governorate capital: Hilla

Area: 5,119sq km (1.2% of Iraq)

Population: 1,651,565 (6% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 53%; Urban: 47%

Population by district: Al-Hilla 682,783; Al-Mahawil 256,811; Al-Hashimiya 375,947; Al-Mussyab 336,024

Baghdad province contains the main city of Baghdad, its suburbs, and adjacent towns, which includes Al-Mada'in, Taji, Al Mahmudiyah district (in the so-called "triangle of death"), and Abu Ghraib district. The governorate is the smallest of the 18 governorates of Iraq but the most populous. Baghdad governorate is considered one of the more developed parts of Iraq, with a better infrastructure than much of Iraq, though heavily damaged from the invasion in 2003 and continuing violence today. It also has one of the highest rates for terrorism in the world, with bombs, suicide attackers, and hit squads operating in the city. Baghdad has at least 12 bridges spanning the Tigris River that join the east and west areas of the city. The Sadr City district of the capital is the most densely populated area in Iraq. Baghdad is governed by the Baghdad Provincial Council. Representatives to the Baghdad Provincial Council were elected by their peers from the lower councils of the administrative districts in Baghdad in numbers proportional to the population of the various districts that were represented. Most households in Sadr City, Al Resafa, Adhamiya, Karkh, and Kadhmiyah have infrequent or no connection to the electricity network. Mahmudiya, Sadr City, Al Resafa, and Adhamiya have significant levels of chronic disease.

Provincial capital: Baghdad City

Area: 4,555 sq km (1.5% of Iraq)

Population: 7,145,470 (24% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 13%; Urban: 87%

Population by district: Al-Resafa 1,312,052; Al-Kadhmiyah 832,759; Al-Adhamiya 842,310; Mahmoudiya 496,053; Al-Sader 1,316,583; Abu-Ghraib 326,626; Al-Karkh 1,624,057; Al-Tarmia 62,147; Al-Mada'in 332,883

Duhok (also spelled Dahuk, Dihok) province, Iraq's most northern governate, is located on the border with Turkey. Prior to 1976 it was part of Ninawa governorate, which was called Mosul province. Its capital is Duhok city. It also includes the city of Zakho, which has at various times served as a checkpoint for the border with Turkey. Along with Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, Dahuk makes up the area administrated by the KRG. Much of Dahuk's landscape is dominated by mountains. The governorate is Iraq's least populated. IDPs constitute a large proportion of Dahuk's population. In spite of Dahuk's poor infrastructure, an unusually high proportion (58 percent) of Dahuk's IDPs intends to integrate into the host community. Almost all originate from Ninewa and Baghdad. The security situation in Dahuk remains calm. Dahuk performs poorly according to most humanitarian and development indicators. Education levels are below average in all districts. Over 90 percent of households in all districts apart from Al-Shikhan and Aqraa have more than 11 hours of power cuts daily.

Provincial capital: Dahuk

Area: 6,553 sq km (1.5% of Iraq)

Population: 505,491 (2% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 27%; Urban: 73%

Population by district: Duhouk 160,569; Sumel 63,211; Zakho 137,238; Al-Amadiya 24,069; Al-Shikhan 20,672; Aqra 31,472; Bardah Resh 21,638

Dhi Qar province is located in southern Iraq. The provincial capital is Nasiriyah. Prior to 1976 the province was known as Muntafiq province. Dhi Qar was the site of the ancient civilization of Sumer, and the ruins of Ur, Eridu, Lagash, and Ngirsu are present here. Dhi Qar governorate includes the towns of Al-Rifa'i, Qal at Sukhar, Al-Shatra, Al-Gharraf, Suq al-Shoyokh, and Al-Chibayish. The province was notorious in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's era of dictatorship as one of the most troublesome spots for the Ba'ath government. In 1991 the governorate fell to Islamist groups as part of a wider uprising that failed to topple the Saddam Hussein government. An Nasiriyah witnessed some of the heaviest fighting and some of the stiffest resistance against invading U.S. forces in 2003. Dhi Qar was the second Iraqi province to be handed over to the Iraqi Security Forces. The province achieved provincial Iraqi control on 21 September 2006 from Italian forces in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Dhi Qar performs poorly according to many humanitarian and developmental indicators. Poverty is widespread in the governorate, with the populations of the Marshland districts of Al-Shatra and Al-Chibayish experiencing the highest poverty rates. Unemployment is almost double the national average for both men and women, with Al-Shatra experiencing the highest levels. Illiteracy and poor education are major problems for women outside the Nasiriyah district, and low female labor force participation is prevalent in all districts. The quality of electricity supply is generally very good, with the exception of the Rifa'i district, where it is extremely poor. Water access is extremely poor outside Nasiriyah. Acute malnutrition among children in Al-Shatra is triple the national average.

Province capital: Nasiriyah

Area: 12900 sq km (3% of Iraq)

Population: 1,616,226 (5% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 42%; Urban: 58%

Population by district: Al-Nasiriya 593,735; Al-rifai 336,156; Suq Al-Shoyokh 255,789; Al-Chibayish 64,277; Al-Shatra 366,269

Diyala province extends to the northeast of Baghdad as far as the Iranian border. Its capital is Baqubah. A large portion of the province is drained by the Diyala River, a major tributary of the Tigris. Because of its proximity to two major sources of water, Diyala's main industry is agriculture, primarily dates grown in large date palm groves. It is also recognized as the orange capital of the Middle East. The Hamrin mountains are in this governorate. The Kurds form the majority in Kifri and Khanaqin districts and Sunni Arabs in the rest of the governorate. Shi'a Arabs exist mostly in the villages of Kharnabat, Al Abarrah, Zaganiya, and Al Howaider. In 2003, Diyala was comprised of about 80 percent Sunni Arabs, with 16 percent Feyli Kurds, 2 percent Turkmen, and 2 percent Shi'a Arabs and others. Seventy-five percent of the population of Diyala is in the major cities of Baqubah, Muqdadiyah, and Khanaqin. The Diyala province also boasts the Diyala Media Center, which has one of the Middle East's tallest radio and television antennas at 1,047 feet. The Diyala Media Center was built under contract by a Japanese architectural firm in 1989. It is one of Iraq's few independent radio and television stations that offer local television and radio news coverage as well as rebroadcasting of state-run television. With the exception of the Baladrooz district, Diyala performs well according to humanitarian and development indicators. Baladrooz has severe problems with poverty and unreliable electricity supplies. A high number of the population in both Baladrooz and Al-Khalis suffer from chronic disease. Connection to the water network is poor outside Ba'qubah and Al-Khalis.

Provincial capital: Ba'qubah

Area: 17,685 sq km (4.1% of Iraq)

Population: 1,560,621 (5% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 59%; Urban: 41%

Population by district: Ba'quba 135,291; Al-Muqdadiya 248,575; Al-Khalis 319,332; Khanaqin 179,191; Baladrooz 627,489

Karbala province is situated between Anbar, Babil, and Najaf in south-central Iraq. It is one of the country's smallest and least populated provinces. The capital city of Karbala, a holy city for Shi'ite Muslims, houses the shrine of Imam Hussein, a revered figure who attracts many pilgrims from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Karbala's relatively calm security situation and predominantly Shia population have led many Shi'a fleeing the violence in Baghdad and Diyala to seek refuge there. Karbala is also the eighth of Iraq's 18 provinces to be handed over by coalition forces to full Iraqi government control. Karbala performs at an average level according to most humanitarian and development indicators. The percentage of households connected to the water network is relatively high. However, poverty is a severe problem throughout the governorate. Female labor force participation is generally low, particularly in Ain Al-Tamur.

Province capital: Karbala

Area: 5,034 sq km (1% of Iraq)

Population: 887,859 (3% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 35%; Urban: 65%

Population by district: Karbala 632,755; Ain al-Tamur 24,558; Al-Hindiya 230,546

Maysan is a province in southeastern Iraq that borders Iran (see Figure B-16). The provincial capital, located beside the Tigris, is Al Amarah. The second settlement is Majar Al-Kabir. Prior to 1976 the province was known as Amara province. Maysan is a majority Shia province. Its population suffered greatly during the Iran-Iraq War, during which it was a major battlefield, and subsequently post the 1991 Shia Uprising. The province is traditionally home to many Marsh Arabs and also contains part of the Marshlands, which have been an important source of support for Shia political movements in southern Iraq. Once an important agricultural and industrial center, Maysan's economy has declined due to crumbling infrastructure and poor access to resources. The security situation in Maysan remains relatively calm in spite of a renewed outbreak of violence in October 2008. Even though the governorate's infrastructure is poor, Maysan hosts a large number of IDPs, the vast majority of whom come from Baghdad. Maysan performs poorly - and often worst - according to many developmental and humanitarian indicators. Lack of access to safe water supplies and poor sanitation are coupled with the high prevalence of diarrhea and fever in most districts. All districts except Al-Maimouna also suffer poor access to electricity. Illiteracy is above average for both men and women outside Amara, and education levels are very low in all districts except Amara and Al-Mejar Al-Kabir. Female labor force participation is far below average in all districts except Ali Al-Gharbi. Poverty is high outside Amara, particularly in Ali Al-Gharbi, Al-Maimouna, and Al-Kahla.

Province capital: Amarah

Area: 16,072sq km (3.7% of Iraq)

Population: 824,147 (3% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 35%; Urban: 65%

Population by district: Al-Amara 437,817; Ali-Al-Gharbi 45,779; Al-Maimouna 92,919; Qalat Saleh 175,959; Al-Mejar Al-Kabir 110,835; Al-Kahla 50,543

Ninawa province is located in northern Iraq on the Syrian border. Its chief city and the provincial capital is Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, which lies across the Tigris River from the ruins of ancient Nineveh. Tal Afar is also a greater city within the region. Prior to 1976, Ninawa was called Mosul province and also included the present-day Dahuk province. Its two main cities endured the 2003 invasion of Iraq and emerged relatively unscathed. In 2004, however, Mosul and Tal Afar were the scenes of fierce battles between U.S.-led troops and the Iraqi insurgency. The insurgents had moved to Ninawa after the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Security worsened during the second half of 2008, with ethnic tensions leading to the displacement of 13,000 Christians from Mosul to surrounding areas. Although most of these families have returned and violence has decreased, the situation remains tense, particularly in Mosul city. Telafar, Sinjar, Al-Ba'aj, and Hatra districts have among the worst rates of connection to the general water network in Iraq. All districts apart from Hatra have prolonged power cuts or are not connected to the general electricity network. Poverty is a significant problem in all districts except Al-Ba'aj.

Province capital: Mosul

Area: 37,323 sq km (8.6% of Iraq)

Population: 2,811,091 (9% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 39%; Urban: 61%

Population by district: Al-Mosul 1,620,259; Telafar 382,050; Al-Hamdaniya 143,462; Al-Shikhan 49,396; Tilkaif 190,403; Al-Hatre 55,157; Sinjar 237,073; Al-Baaj 133,291

Salah al Din (or Salahuddin) province is located north of Baghdad. The capital is Tikrit; the province also contains the significantly larger city of Samarra. Before 1976 the governorate was part of Baghdad governorate. Salah al-Din's population is one of the most rural in Iraq. The February 2006 bombing of the Al-Askari mosque in the city of Samarra triggered a new wave of sectarian violence and displacement that lasted until 2007. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization launched a project to restore the Shi'a shrine following a subsequent attack in June 2007. The governorate capital of Tikrit was the birthplace of Saddam Hussein. Salah al-Din has been one of Iraq's more unsecure governorates since 2003. Salah al-Din as a whole performs on an average level according to many developmental and humanitarian indicators, but with wide variation between districts. Illiteracy is generally below average but is a major issue in Al-Fares and Samarra. Female labor force participation is high in Samarra and Al-Fares yet low in Tikrit, Tooz, and Bayji. Unemployment is low in some areas but double the national average among women in Tooz. Water access and sanitation facilities are good in Tooz, Balad, and Bayji, yet well below average elsewhere. Electricity supplies are very poor in Tooz, Balad, Al-Daur, and Al-Fares.

Province capital: Tikrit

Area: 24,075sq km (5.6% of Iraq)

Population: 1,191,403 (4% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 54%; Urban: 46%

Population by district: Tikrit 172,119; Tooz 160,690; Samarra 205,664; Balad 223,354; Bayji 158,335; Al-Daur 53,983; Al-Shirqat 141,142; Al-Fares 76,1169

Wasit province is situated on Iraq's eastern border with Iran. Its name comes from the Arabic word meaning "middle," as it lies along the Tigris River about midway between Baghdad and the Basra. Its major cities include the capital, Al Kut, and Al Hai. Prior to 1976 it was known as Kut province. Another city in this province is Wassit. The province is an important trade route for goods being shipped north to Baghdad or south to Maysan along the Tigris River. Wassit hosts a large number of IDPs, most of which were displaced from neighboring Baghdad and Diyala. Clashes between local militias and Iraqi Security Forces persisted during the second half of 2008. In spite of the continuing violence and underdevelopment, an unusually large proportion of Wassit's IDPs (two-thirds) intends to settle permanently in the governorate. Wassit performs well according to some humanitarian and development indicators, but lags behind in many key areas. Wassit's electricity supplies are reliable compared to the rest of Iraq. However, all districts apart from Badra and Al-Suwaira suffer from high poverty levels. Illiteracy is above average for both men and women in almost all districts. Badra and Al-Suwaira suffer from lack of water network access, poor sanitation, and chronic malnutrition.

Province capital: Kut

Area: 17,153 sq km (3.9% of Iraq)

Population: 1,064,950 (4% of total); Gender distribution: Male: 50%; Female: 50%

Geographical distribution: Rural: 48%; Urban: 52%

Population by district: Al-Kut 387,350; Al-Na'maniya 143,981; Al-Hai 163,696; Badra 22,498; Al-Azezia 243,256; Al-Suwaira 347,425

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias