In the last 20 years, living conditions for the vast majority of the population have improved greatly. Electricity and running water are normal features of all Iraqi villages in rural areas. Mud huts in remote places are rapidly being replaced by brick dwellings. Major cities like Mosul, Basra, and especially Baghdad have most of the amenities of modern living. Traditionally, Iraqis have lived in single family dwellings, but in the last 15 years, the government had built a number of high-rise apartments, especially in Baghdad. It had done so to control urban sprawl and to cut down on suburban service expenditures. From 1980–88, total housing units numbered 2,478,000 with 6.5 people per dwelling.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq by international coalition forces caused destruction and damage to a large portion of the housing sector, particularly in and around Baghdad. The UN responded to the crisis by providing construction materials through the Oil for Food Program. The housing sector had been part of this program since 2000. Through the program, about 64,932 housing units were built to accommodate about 551,922 people.