Kurdistan Regional Government

Representation in Spain


Population: 5.2 million people

Most of the population living in the Kurdistan Region is Kurdish. Other ethnic groups that coexist in the region are the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Armenians, the Arabs and the Turkmens. The Kurds are considered to be one of the four largest ethnic groups in the Middle East after Arabs, Turks and Persians.

The Kurdistan Region has a growing and very young population. 36% of the population is between 0 and 14 years old and only 4% are over 63 years old. The average age in Kurdistan is slightly over 20 years old, which means that more than 50% are under 20 years old. [1]

One of the main reasons why people from rural areas migrated to urban areas was the forced migration policy of the previous Iraqi regime. The Baathist regime, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, began to forcibly expel Kurds and Turks in the 1970s and continued to implement these types of policies until 2003, the year of the liberation of Iraq. By 2001, at least 600,000 people had become internally displaced. Among these people were the more than 100,000 people who were expelled from Kirkuk in the month of November 1991 alone. According to a UNDP study, 66% of the people living in Duhok province have been forcibly, at some point in their life, to change residence due to war, the percentages specified for Sulaimani and Erbil are 31% and 7% respectively. [2]

Traditionally, the majority of the population of the Kurdistan Region lived in villages and subsisted by dedicating themselves to agriculture and livestock or raising farm animals, mainly sheep and goats, since the Region is characterized by having fertile land and was known as “the breadbasket of Iraq”. Today, this situation has been reversed and the majority of the population lives in the three cities of Erbil Sulaimani and Duhok and works for the government, construction or in the commercial sector.

In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein's regime destroyed more than 4,000 villages and forced their residents into ghettos. Currently, many of these municipalities have been rebuilt. The Kurdistan Regional Government, after 1991, with the support of United Nations agencies and NGOs has rebuilt 2,620 of the 4,000 destroyed villages.

[1] The UNDP report on living conditions in Iraq 2004
[2] The UNDP report on living conditions in Iraq 2004

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