Friday, March 13, 2009

The State Of Ninewa Province

As reported here before, Ninewa is about to go through an important political transition as the provincial council will pass from the hands of the Kurds to the new Al-Hadbaa List. The leader of Al-Hadbaa has said that he wants to develop the economy of the province by encouraging the private sector. He believes that there are ample resources that could make Ninewa prosper. Whether that’s possible or not is yet to be seen. What is known is that Ninewa rates worse in education, health, and a number of other fields when compared to the Iraqi average, and it is the second most violent province in the country.

Population and Territory

Ninewa is the third largest province in Iraq in area, and the second most populated. It has 2,811,091 people, 9% of the country’s total. Only Baghdad has more. The province is divided into eight districts, Baaj, Hamdaniya, Hatra, Mosul, Shikhan, Sinjar, Tel Afar, and Tilkaif. Mosul, the provincial capital is the third largest city in Iraq behind Baghdad and Basra. The population is also a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Christians, and other smaller religious minorities. Sinjar, Tilkaif, and Shikhan are also disputed territories that have parts that the Kurds claim. This is the source of one of the major disputes between Arabs and Kurds in the province, and country.

Ninewa’s Population
Total: 2,811,091
Shikhan: 49,396
Hatra: 55,157
Baaj: 133,291
Hamdaniya: 143,462
Tilkaif: 190,403
Sinjar: 237,073
Tel Afar: 382,050
Mosul: 1,620,259


Security was worse in Ninewa in the second half of 2007 before improving in 2008. By June 2008 there were approximately 300 security incidents. That jumped to 375 in September, but then declined afterwards, leveling off at around 225 incidents by November. Deaths have had a slow and steady decline during that same time period. In June there were around 130 deaths. That increased to 150 in July, and was at 100 by the end of 2008. In October Christians were also attacked in Mosul, which led almost 2,000 families to flee. 80% of those have now returned. In total, Ninewa still has around 19,100 families that were displaced during the violence there.


Ninewa province rates worse in education, especially amongst women, compared to the rest of the country. In Iraq, 24% of women are illiterate. In Ninewa it ranges from 23% in Hamdaniya to a high of 60% in Hatra. That’s mainly because so few women attend school. Overall, 47% of women over ten years old have less than a primary education in Iraq. Only the Hamdaniya district at 44% beats that national average. Otherwise the rate goes from 52% of women with less than a primary education in Mosul up to 90% in Hatra. The men of Ninewa only do slightly better. In Iraq 11% of males are illiterate, compared to 12% in Ninewa. Sinjar and Hatra have the most illiteracy for men at 25% and 37% respectively. 31% of men over 10 years old have less than a primary education in the country, but in Ninewa it’s at 41%. Hamdaniya does the best at 27%, but the other eight districts range from 37%-68%.

Women Over 10 Years Old With Less Than Primary Education
Iraq: 47%
Hamdaniya: 44%
Mosul: 52%
Baaj: 53%
Ninewa: 58%
Tel Afar: 66%
Sinjar: 72%
Shikhan: 74%
Tilkaif: 76%
Hatra: 90%

Illiterate Women:
Iraq: 24%
Hamdaniya: 23%
Mosul: 24%
Ninewa: 30%
Baaj: 30%
Tilkaif: 31%
Tel Afar: 32%
Shikhan: 48%
Sinjar: 57%
Hatra: 60%

Men Over 10 Years Old With Less Than Primary Education
Iraq: 31%
Hamdaniya: 27%
Mosul: 37%
Tel Afar: 45%
Baaj: 45%
Sinjar: 46%
Shikhan: 49%
Tilkaif: 54%
Hatra: 68%

Illiterate Men
Iraq: 11%
Mosul: 8%
Hamdaniya: 9%
Tilkaif: 10%
Tel Afar: 15%
Baaj: 19%
Shikhan: 19%
Sinjar: 25%
Hatra: 37%


Similarly women do far worse than men in finding employment in Ninewa and in the country. In Iraq only 18% of women are employed or looking for a job. In only one district, Hatra at 30%, does Ninewa do better than that. Otherwise anywhere from 3% of women are in the labor force in Baaj and Tilkaif to up to 10% in Mosul and Hamdaniya. Female unemployment is also much higher in Ninewa, 35%, compared to the rest of the country, 13%. Tilkaif has the lowest unemployment rate for women at 9%, and Tel Afar matches the country’s rate at 13%. The remaining six districts however have unemployment for women ranging from 14% in Hamdaniya up to 62% in Hatra. Even for men, there is high unemployment in areas, even though more males are involved in the labor force than in Iraq overall. 81% of Iraqi men participate in the labor force, compared to 85% in Ninewa. Baaj 90% and Hatra 91% have the high numbers. Unemployment is still slightly higher in Ninewa, 13%, than the national average, 12%. Tel Afar, 21%, Shikhan, 23%, and Hatra, 33%, have the most jobless men.

Female Labor Force Participation 15-64 Years Old

Iraq: 18%
Ninewa: 8%
Baaj: 3%
Tilkaif: 3%
Tel Afar: 5%
Shikhan: 6%
Sinjar: 6%
Mosul: 10%
Hamdaniya: 10%
Hatra: 30%

Female Unemployment
Iraq: 13%
Ninewa: 35%
Tilkaif: 9%
Tel Afar: 13%
Hamdaniya: 14%
Sinjar: 14%
Shikhan: 30%
Baaj: 36%
Mosul: 40%
Hatra: 62%

Male Labor Force Participation 15-64
Iraq: 81%
Ninewa: 85%
Sinjar: 78%
Tel Afar: 81%
Hamdaniya: 82%
Mosul: 86%
Shikhan: 86%
Tilkaif: 87%
Baaj: 90%
Hatra: 91%

Male Unemployment
Iraq: 12%
Ninewa: 13%
Baaj: 3%
Hamdaniya: 8%
Sinjar: 9%
Mosul: 12%
Tilkaif: 13%
Tel Afar: 21%
Shikhan: 23%
Hatra: 33%


The lack of jobs has resulted in high rates of poverty in the province. 22% of Iraqis are in the lowest per capita income quintile. In Ninewa that ranges from 57% in Tel Afar down to 25% in Mosul.

% In Lowest Per Capita Income Quintile

Iraq: 22%
Mosul: 25
Sinjar: 27%
Hamdaniya: 36%
Baaj: 37%
Tilkaif: 40%
Shikhan: 49%
Hatra: 54%
Tel Afar: 57%


Services like electricity and water, are also limited in Ninewa. 52% of Iraq has more than eleven hours of power cuts or are not connected to the national network. In Sinjar and Baaj 100% of the residents have more than 11-hour electricity outages, followed by Hamdaniya 93%, Tilkaif 80%, and Shikhan 76%. Many Iraqis rely upon private generators or buy electricity for those that do to supplement the national power grid. 21% of Iraqis however have no alternative source of power, compared to 57% in Ninewa. Access to the water network is also limited in some parts of the province. Only in Tilkaif is the entire district connected to the water system. Otherwise anywhere from 7% in Mosul and Shikhan up to 83% in Sinjar, 86% in Hatra, and 100% in Baaj do not have access.

More Than 11 Hours Power Cut Or No Connection To Network
Iraq: 52%
Hatra: 15%
Tel Afar: 26%
Mosul: 50%
Shikhan: 76%
Tilkaif: 80%
Hamdaniya: 93%
Sinjar: 100%
Baaj: 100%

No Alternative Electricity Source
Iraq: 21%
Mosul: 7%
Shikhan: 17%
Tilkaif: 32%
Baaj: 37%
Sinjar: 49%
Hamdaniya: 59%
Hatra: 81%
Tel Afar: 90%

Not Connected to Water Network
Iraq: 26%
Tilkaif: 0%
Mosul: 7%
Shikhan: 7%
Hamdaniya: 20%
Tel Afar: 53%
Sinjar: 83%
Hatra: 86%
Baaj: 100%


The majority of Iraqis depend upon the government’s food ration system, which is the largest in the world. There is still malnutrition in Iraq however. 22% of Iraqis face chronic malnutrition. Shikhan does the best in this department with only 11% affected, followed by Hatra 20%, and Hamdaniya 22%, while Baaj 42%, Sinjar and Tel Afar at 48% each do the worst.

Chronic Malnutrition
Iraq: 22%
Shikhan: 11%
Hatra: 20%
Hamdaniya: 22%
Tilkaif: 26%
Mosul: 27%
Baaj: 42%
Sinjar: 48%
Tel Afar: 48%


Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit, “Ninewa Governorate Profile,” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, February 2009

Kamal, Adel, “new ninawa governor: no possibility of Kurdish alliance,” Niqash, 2/24/09

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Iraqi Christians Returning To Mosul,” 3/5/09

Reuters, “UN Says 1 Million Iraqis Lack Food,” 11/12/08

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