Erbil governorate profile, May 2015
Situated in northwest Iraq with a total population of 1,542,421, Erbil hosts the capital of Kurdistan region administrated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
As the economy and security of Erbil are generally better than many other areas of Iraq, this governorate continues to be a common destination for displaced populations. Since the onset of violence in December 2013, the number of IDPs in Erbil skyrocketed and currently, the governorate hosts 9% of 2014-2015 IDPs in the entire country, in addition to over 110,000 Syrian refugees. As the cost of living in Erbil is comparatively high, it has been noted that many families displace ﬁrst to Erbil and then to other surrounding governorates or countries in search of job opportunities and less expensive places to live. Reportedly, the increasing population has placed strain on the local economy, services and local infrastructure, hampering delivery of basic services and stretching the economic capacity of the KRG to its maximum. Erbil was facing problems with respect to central budget allocation that caused delays in salary payments. Notably, the poverty rate in the KRI increased from 3.5% to 8.1% since 2013. The influx of individuals and deteriorated security situation outside the KRI resulted in the rise of housing costs by almost 12% in Erbil, while the cost of electricity rose by 30%.
Overall the security situation in Erbil remains stable, however there were isolated incidents such as the April car bombing near the American consulate in Ainkawa, a Christian neighbourhood in Erbil.