Erbil Governorate Profile



Located in the north of Iraq, Erbil borders Turkey to the north and Iran to the east. Erbil combines with Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah to form the area administrated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The city of Erbil is the capital of both Erbil governorate and the KRG. The administrative status of Makhmur district, which borders on Ninewa, has yet to be officially determined. The security situation remains generally calm. UNESCO has financed a project to renovate and revitalise the Citadel in Erbil city, one of the world’s oldest inhabited settlements, aged between 3000 and 6000 years old.

The provincial government views agriculture as a key means of generating employment and alleviating food insecurity in the governorate. However, lack of investment and modern farming methods have hindered production. The provincial government wants to increase access to formal credit sources, modernise farming methods and improve infrastructure to boost productivity and job creation. Just 6% of Erbil’s labour force is employed in agriculture, while unemployment in rural areas is 24%, rising to 65% among rural women.

Although few of Erbil’s residents are among Iraq’s poorest, the governorate performs relatively poorly according to humanitarian and developmental indicators. 26% of children aged 0-5 years in Makhmur suffer from acute malnutrition, and a further 15% suffer from chronic malnutrition. A quarter of Erbil’s population aged 10 years and over are illiterate, with women (36%) suffering more than men (15%).

Infrastructure is poor across the governorate. The vast majority of households in all districts except Koisnjaq suffer from prolonged power cuts. One in five of Erbil’s households has no sanitation or uses a hole  to dispose human waste. This problem is particularly acute in Mergasur, Shaqlawa, Soran, Choman and Khabat, where this figure rises to between 32% and 59% of households. Most households in Shaqlawa, Choman and Mergasur are not connected to the water network.

Erbil hosts a considerable number of IDPs, almost all of whom come from Baghdad and Ninewa. 89% of Erbil’s IDPs live in Erbil district. Over half (58%) of IDPs in the governorate are unable to access the Public Distribution System. Almost all the governorate’s IDPs live in rented accommodation, but the quality of the housing is often poor. Food and shelter are the two major priority needs for IDP families in the governorate. However, 68% of IDP families have a family member in employment, far higher than the national average of 33%.

Makhmur has been identified as a priority district for the UN’s Iraq Humanitarian Action Plan 2010.

Governorate Capital: Erbil
Area: 15,074 sq km (3.5% of Iraq)
Population: 1,542,421 (5% of total)
. Source: GoI COSIT (est. for 2007)
Gender Distribution: Male: 50% Female: 50%
Geo Distribution: Rural: 24% Urban: 76%
. Source: GoI COSIT (est. for 2007)

Iraq Millennium Development Goals
Proportion of population below National Poverty Line ($2.2 per day) (%) 22.9 3.4                        
Poverty gap ratio at National Poverty Line (%) 4.5 1.0                            
Prop. of pop. below min. level of dietary energy consumption (%) 7.1 n/a                            
Net enrollment ratio in primary education (%)     84.8 89.6                        
Net enrollment ratio in secondary education (%)     36.7 29.7                        
Enrollment ratio of females to males in primary education (%)         84.8 99.4                    
Share of women in wage emp. in non-agricultural sector (%)         7.4 9.5                    
Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament (%)         27.3 33.3                    
Under-five mortality rate (for every 1,000 live births)             41.0 46.0                
Proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles (%)             81.0 74.1                
Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel (%)                 88.5 87.5            
Proportion of TB incidence for every 100,000 of the population                     12.4 0.0        
Proportion of detected TB cases cured under direct observation treatment (%)                     86.0 91.0        
Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source (%)                         79.0 97.2    
Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility (%)                         83.9 31.5    
Cellular subscribers per 100 population (%)                             78.0 97.2
Proportion of families owning a personal computer (%) 11.8 18.2

Current National [Total]    Current Sub-National [Erbil]
Selected Indicators
Prevalence of illiteracy (aged 10 years and over) Health: Prevalence of chronic disease

Health: Diarrhea in the past two weeks (aged 0-5 years) Poverty: Households in the lowest per capita expenditure quintile

Proportion of households with a toilet  



% % % % % % % % %
Education Prevalence of illiteracy (aged 10 +) 17.5 25.8 43.0 35.1 32.6 30.6 30.2 29.0 23.4
Health Prevalence of chronic disease 9.3 9.7 11.7 11.4 11.0 10.4 10.0 10.0 7.8
Diarrhea in the past two weeks (aged 0-5 years) 3.4 3.6 4.0 5.3 5.2 1.2 4.5 4.0 3.5
Poverty Households in the lowest per capita expenditure quintile 20.0 7.1 4.4 6.7 10.7 18.9 7.8 9.1 6.7
WatSan Proportion of households with a toilet 91.3 79.6 57.8 55.5 68.0 98.0 67.1 76.2 89.7
Protection Percentage of post-2006 IDPs n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Who does What Where (3W)
  Agriculture     Construction     Coordination     Economic Reform & Diversification   
  Education     Food Assistance     Governance Support     Health & Nutrition   
  Housing & Shelter     Multi-Sector     Protection     Sector Not Yet Specified   
  Water and Sanitation