Your guide to being an expatriate in Iraq

Caffeinate Your Iraq Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Iraq, officially known as the Republic of Iraq, is a country located in the Middle East. It is bordered by Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Iraq's culture and history are a mix of ancient traditions and modern societies. With a population of over 40 million people, Iraq's diversity is reflected in its demographics, religion, economy, and culture.


Expat destinations in Iraq

Demographics of Iraq:

Ethnic groups

Arab: 93.2%

Shabak: 0.6%

Kurdish: 4.6%

Turkmen: 1.9%

Assyrian and Chaldean: 0.7%


Arabic: 97%

Kurdish: 2.8%

Turkmen: 0.3%

Assyrian Neo-Aramaic: 0.2%

Religion Overview

Iraq is predominantly Islamic, with around 98% of the population adhering to this faith. The majority of Muslims in Iraq follow the Shia branch, with smaller Sunni and Ahle Talib communities. The minority religions in Iraq include Christianity, Mandaeism, Yazidism, and Zoroastrianism.

Major Religions


Iraq has a desert climate in most regions, with very hot summers and mild winters. Central and southern Iraq are particularly arid, with temperatures regularly exceeding 50°C (122°F) during summer. The highlands of northern Iraq have a somewhat milder climate, with cooler winters and occasional snowfall.

Economy Overview

Despite its rich natural resources, Iraq's economy has been heavily affected by decades of conflict and instability. The country's main industries include agriculture, industry, petroleum, and tourism. Petroleum is the most significant sector of the Iraqi economy, accounting for around 95% of its exports and 60% of government revenue. Iraq is one of the world's largest oil producers, but this wealth has not yet translated into stable economic growth.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Petroleum
  • Tourism

Major Companies

  • State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO)
  • Iraqi Turkmen Front Petroleum Co.
  • Russian Rosneft Oil Co.
  • Basra Oil Co.

Culture and Language Overview

Iraq's rich cultural heritage is a mix of ancient traditions and modern societies. The country boasts a unique blend of Arab, Kurdish, Turkish, and Persian influences. The traditional arts and crafts in Iraq include weaving, pottery, embroidery, and calligraphy. Iraq's popular music genres include Arabic music, Iraqi classical music, and Kurdish music.

Cultural Highlights

  • The ancient city of Babylon, one of the oldest and most famous cities in history.
  • The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, considered the third holiest site in Islam.
  • The Euphrates River, a significant historical landmark in the region.
  • Shi'a Islam, a major religious tradition that originated in Iraq.
  • The Arabs, a distinctive and influential ancient civilization.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Iraq is located in the Middle East and is mostly desert terrain, with some mountainous regions in the north. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which made ancient Mesopotamia famous, flow through Iraq. In addition to the vast mudflats in the Mesopotamian region were a few famous landmarks like Hia Nahr, Akkad, and Nineveh.

Notable Landmarks

  • The Great Mosque of Samarra
  • The Ishtar Gate (Babylon)
  • The Palaces of Babylon
  • The Ancient City of Nineveh
  • The Citadel of Aleppo

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (1 January)
  • Al-Fitr (Ramadan end)
  • Arba'in (40th Day after Ashoura)
  • Eid al-Adha (The Feast of Sacrifice)
  • Al-Ashoura (10th Muharram)
  • New Year's Eve (31 December)

Political Stability

Iraq has faced considerable political instability in recent decades, due in part to conflicts between different religious and ethnic groups. After decades of authoritarian regimes, Iraq became a republic in 2005, following a U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. Despite political advances, security issues and violent incidents remain common, particularly against minority religious communities.

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