Ahmed Khedair Hussein – Sociology researcher and academic.
Iraq suffers from a markedly social fragility problem, facing a growing state of social unrest and citizen-state gaps. Some of these problems are attributed to the lack of social and health protection services, the lack of job opportunities, the increased pressures caused by population growth, inequality in the provision of educational services, and the increase in gender-based violence, as well as the migration of competencies and degree holders. There are other aspects associated with the inability of institutions to adapt to the diverse social challenges as a result of the rise or fall of oil prices and the dollar exchange rate. Added to this is the lack of basic services such as water, electricity and waste management.
The social crises that Iraq has witnessed in recent years are due to internal conflicts and ongoing security challenges, in addition to the problems of corruption and weak governance that led to the diversion of resources and mismanagement. This points to the worsening problem of social fragility in Iraq, including increased population growth and pressure on natural and industrial resources without a clear strategy. Cases of violence within the Iraqi family and the instability of the educational situation also increased.
This paper discusses the causes of social fragility in Iraq, and the efforts of the Iraqi government to address this problem. It should be noted that the term “social fragility” in this study refers to the state of vulnerability, poverty, and social instability, which affects individuals and groups who suffer from a lack of resources and lack of social support and their failure to access basic services and social opportunities.
First: Demographic pressures
According to the 2019 population projections prepared by the United Nations, the population of Iraq was estimated at 42.165 million in 2022. Over the past 10 years, Iraq’s population has grown at a rate of 2.97% per year, which is significantly higher than the population growth of the group of middle-income countries (1.09%) and West Asian countries (1.48%). By 2050, the growth rate will remain positive at 1.45%. The high pattern of natural population growth (excluding migration) can be explained paradoxically by two main factors: fertility rates and mortality rates. Compared to 1950, the total fertility rate fell by about 60%, from 8.11 children per woman to 3.45 children per woman in 2022. It is expected to fall further to 2.61 children per woman by 2050.