Its neighboring countries are Israel, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Over the years, Jordan has been witness to the rise and fall of various civilizations.
Although it is a constitutional monarchy, it is served by a representative government. The head of the state is the reigning ruler, King Abdullah II, who is also the chief executive and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
With mostly urbanized citizens, Jordan is a modern Arab country, although it is relatively poor. Royal Jordanian Airlines is the national airline. Many foreign carriers also operate in Jordan, such as, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Egypt Air, BMI, Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Air France.
The population of Jordan is 6.117 million, of which 92% are Sunni Muslim, the rest being primarily Christian and Shia. Up to 57% of Jordanians are Palestinian in origin, and this has created social problems in the past, most notably the 'Black September' incident, and continues to cause tensions.
Moving to stay ahead of a range of uprisings across the arab world in early 2011, King Abdullah of Jordan sacked his entire cabinet, appointed a new Prime Minister and promised to move quickly on social reforms.
Jordan is a small country that has emerged as the "business capital of the Levant". The free market economy of Jordan has grown 7% annually since the accession of King Abdullah in 1999. It relies on foreign trade for its energy and natural resource requirements. Due to the implementation of liberal economic policies, the nation has become one of the most competitive Middle Eastern economy. Jordan boasts a modern and developed banking system and is attracting significant foreign investment. This has also enabled the country to smoothly tackle the global financial downturn of the late 2000s. Jordan shares healthy relations with the UK and the US, being a pro-Western regime.
Jordan's GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) was $34.617 billion in 2010. That makes Jordan the 98th largest economy in the world, up from $33.175 billion in 2009.
2004 - 2008 were good years for Jordanians, with the economy registering consistent 8% and above growth rates. Although Jordan struggled during the financial crisis, it still managed to grow, at a 2.35% rate in 2009 and 3.4% in 2010. Growth is expected to be in the 4.0% - 5.5% range this year until 2015.
The benefits of this growth has not been equally felt. Jordan is one of the poorer countries in the world, ranking at 107th in terms of GDP Per Capita on a PPP basis. For 2010, that figure stood at $5,658.79. Although per capita income is growing, and is expected to reach $5,839 in 2011 and $6,996 by 2015, this grow is slower than overall GDP growth.
The reason is simple. Jordan is a young country with a high birth rate, so the population is growing faster than economic opportunities are. By 2011, the population would have increased to 6.258 million, 6.853 million by 2011.