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Kuwait country facts

State of Kuwait Middle East Kuwait City 2,742,711 inhabitants 17,818 sq km 153.93 inhabitants/sq km Kuwaiti dinars (KD) population evolution



Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense for the ruling Kuwaiti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence in 1961. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led, UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH family has ruled since returning to power in 1991 and reestablished an elected legislature that in recent years has become increasingly assertive. The country witnessed the historic election in 2009 of four women to its National Assembly. Amid the 2010-11 uprisings and protests across the Arab world, stateless Arabs, known as bidun, staged small protests in February and March 2011 demanding citizenship, jobs, and other benefits available to Kuwaiti nationals. Youth activist groups - supported by opposition legislators - rallied repeatedly in 2011 for the prime minister's dismissal amid allegations of widespread government corruption. Demonstrators forced the prime minister to resign in late 2011. In late 2012, Kuwait witnessed unprecedented protests in response to the Amir's changes to the electoral law by decree reducing the number of votes per person from four to one. The opposition, led by a coalition of Sunni Islamists, tribalists, some liberals, and myriad youth groups, largely boycotted legislative elections in 2012 and 2013 ushering in legislatures more amenable to the government's agenda. Since 2006, the Amir has dissolved the National Assembly on five occasions (the Constitutional Court annulled the Assembly in June 2012 and again in June 2013) and shuffled the cabinet over a dozen times, usually citing political stagnation and gridlock between the legislature and the government.



Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates

29 30 N, 45 45 E

Area (sq km)

total: 17,818 sq km
land: 17,818 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries (km)

total: 462 km
border countries: Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 km

Coastline (km)

499 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm


dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters


flat to slightly undulating desert plain

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 306 m

Natural resources

petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas

Land use (%)

arable land: 0.62%
permanent crops: 0.28%
other: 99.1% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

86 sq km (2007)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

0.02 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 0.91 cu km/yr (47%/2%/51%)
per capita: 441.2 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards

sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April and bring heavy rain, which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year but are most common between March and August

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping

Geography - note

strategic location at head of Persian Gulf

People and Society


noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti

Ethnic groups (%)

Kuwaiti 31.3%, other Arab 27.9%, Asian 37.8%, African 1.9%, other 1.1% (includes European, North American, South American, and Australian) (2013 est.)

Languages (%)

Arabic (official), English widely spoken

Religions (%)

Muslim (official) 76.7%, Christian 17.3%, other and unspecified 5.9%
note: represents the total population; about 69% of the population consists of immigrants (2013 est.)


note: Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates the country's total population to be 3,996,899 for 2014, with immigrants accounting for almost 69% (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 25.4% (male 363,001/female 334,851)
15-24 years: 15.3% (male 230,628/female 188,892)
25-54 years: 52.3% (male 910,832/female 524,690)
55-64 years: 4.7% (male 73,816/female 54,678)
65 years and over: 2.1% (male 29,312/female 32,011) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Kuwait

Median age (years)

total: 28.9 years
male: 30.1 years
female: 26.8 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

20.26 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

2.16 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

-1.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 98.3% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.42% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

KUWAIT (capital) 2.406 million (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.22 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.74 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.42 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.43 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

14 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 7.51 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 77.64 years
male: 76.37 years
female: 78.96 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

2.53 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

2.7% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

1.79 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

2 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 99% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99% of population
unimproved: urban: 1% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 1% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
0% of population
0% of population
0% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

42% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

2.2% (2012)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

3.8% of GDP (2006)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.9%
male: 95%
female: 91.8% (2008 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2004)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 11.3%
male: 11.8%
female: 10% (2005)


Country name

conventional long form: State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
local short form: Al Kuwayt

Government type

constitutional emirate


name: Kuwait City
geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC,during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al 'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir


19 June 1961 (from the UK)

National holiday

National Day, 25 February (1950)


approved and promulgated 11 November 1962 (2013)

Legal system

mixed legal system consisting of English common law, French civil law, and Islamic religious law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military or police by law cannot vote; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years

Executive branch

chief of state: Amir SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 29 January 2006); Crown Prince NAWAF al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (born 25 June 1937)
head of government: Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBARAK al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 30 November 2011); First Deputy Prime Minister SABAH Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah; Deputy Prime Ministers KHALD al-Jarrah al-Sabah, MUHAMMAD AL-KHALID al-Hamad al-Sabah, Abdulmohsen MUDEJ
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the amir; new cabinet formed in January 2014
elections: none; the amir is chosen from within the ruling family and confirmed by parliamentary vote; the amir appoints the prime minister and deputy prime ministers

Legislative branch

unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (65 seats; 50 members elected by popular vote to serve 4-year terms and 16 cabinet ministers serve as ex officio members on most issues, two of whom are also elected MPs, appointed by the prime minister)
elections: last held 27 July 2013 (next to be held in July 2017)
election results: voter turnout 52%; seats won - pro-government 30, liberals 9, Shiites 8, Sunni 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Constitutional Court (five judges); Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (organized into several circuits, each with five judges)
judge selection and term of office: all Kuwaiti judges appointed by the Amir upon recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, a consultative body comprised of Kuwaiti judges and Ministry of Justice officials
subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; Court of First Instance; Summary Court

Political parties and leaders

none; while the formation of political parties is not permitted, they are not forbidden by law

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: Islamists; merchants; political groups; secular liberals and pro-governmental deputies; Shia activists; tribal groups

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador SALIM al-Abdallah al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 10 October 2001)
chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
FAX: [1] (202) 364-2868
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew H. TUELLER (since 9 September 2011)
embassy: Bayan 36302, Block 13, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City
mailing address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000
telephone: [965] 2259-1001
FAX: [965] 2538-0282

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side; colors and design are based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I; green represents fertile fields, white stands for purity, red denotes blood on Kuwaiti swords, black signifies the defeat of the enemy

National symbol(s)

golden falcon

National anthem

name: "Al-Nasheed Al-Watani" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Ahmad MUSHARI al-Adwani/Ibrahim Nasir al-SOULA
note: adopted 1978; the anthem is only used on formal occasions


Economy - overview

Kuwait has a geographically small, but wealthy, relatively open economy with crude oil reserves of about 102 billion barrels - more than 6% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 95% of government income. Kuwaiti officials have committed to increasing oil production to 4 million barrels per day by 2020. Budget surpluses have stayed around 30% of GDP, which has led to higher budget expenditures, particularly wage hikes for many public sector employees, as well as increased allotments to Kuwait’s Future Generations Fund. Kuwait has done little to diversify its economy, in part, because of this positive fiscal situation, and, in part, due to the poor business climate and the historically acrimonious relationship between the National Assembly and the executive branch, which has stymied most movement on economic reforms. In 2010, Kuwait passed an economic development plan that pledges to spend up to $130 billion over five years to diversify the economy away from oil, attract more investment, and boost private sector participation in the economy, though much of these funds have yet to be allocated.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$165.8 billion (2013 est.)
$159.6 billion (2012 est.)
$144.8 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$179.5 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

2.3% (2013 est.)
8.3% (2012 est.)
10.2% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$42,100 (2013 est.)
$41,800 (2012 est.)
$39,200 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 50.6%
services: 49.1% (2013 est.)

Labor force

2.38 million
note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 60% of the labor force (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate (%)

3.4% (2011 est.)
2.9% (2010)

Population below poverty line (%)


Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $114.1 billion
expenditures: $61.81 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

63.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

29.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

Public debt (% of GDP)

6.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
6.3% of GDP (2012 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

2.8% (2013 est.)
2.9% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

1.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
3% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

4.9% (31 December 2013 est.)
5% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$31.68 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$27.55 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$110.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$105.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$90.63 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$89.13 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$97.09 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$100.9 billion (31 December 2011)
$NA (31 December 2010 est.)

Agriculture - products



petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water desalination, food processing, construction materials

Industrial production growth rate (%)

4.1% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

$69.13 billion (2013 est.)
$80.33 billion (2012 est.)


$112 billion (2013 est.)
$121 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

oil and refined products, fertilizers

Exports - partners (%)

South Korea 16.1%, India 15.7%, Japan 13.4%, US 11.7%, China 9.2%, Singapore 4.2% (2013 est.)


$24.42 billion (2013 est.)
$22.79 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing

Imports - partners (%)

US 11.8%, China 9.2%, Saudi Arabia 8.6%, Japan 8.2%, South Korea 6.9%, German 5.1%, India 4.6%, UAE 4.4% (2013 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$34.35 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$29 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$34.41 billion (2013 est.)
$35.29 billion (2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$5.677 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$5.212 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$60.76 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$52.59 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US dollar -
0.2838 (2013 est.)
0.2799 (2012 est.)
0.2866 (2010 est.)
0.2877 (2009)
0.2679 (2008)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March


Electricity - production (kWh)

55.55 billion kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

46.71 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

13.5 million kW (2011 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

2.797 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

1.395 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

104 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

915,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

339,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

656,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

13.53 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

14.22 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

688 million cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

1.798 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

82.37 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

510,000 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

5.526 million (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: the quality of service is excellent
domestic: new telephone exchanges provide a large capacity for new subscribers; trunk traffic is carried by microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and open-wire and fiber-optic cable; a mobile-cellular telephone system operates throughout Kuwait, and the country is well supplied with pay telephones
international: country code - 965; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); linked to Bahrain, Qatar, UAE via the Fiber-Optic Gulf (FOG) cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 6 (3 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean, 1 Inmarsat - Atlantic Ocean, and 2 Arabsat) (2011)

Broadcast media

state-owned TV broadcaster operates 4 networks and a satellite channel; several private TV broadcasters have emerged since 2003; satellite TV available with pan-Arab TV stations especially popular; state-owned Radio Kuwait broadcasts on a number of channels in Arabic and English; first private radio station emerged in 2005; transmissions of at least 2 international radio broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

2,771 (2012)

Internet users

1.1 million (2009)



7 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2013)


4 (2013)

Pipelines (km)

gas 261 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2013)

Roadways (km)

total: 6,608 km (2010)

Merchant marine

total: 34
by type: bulk carrier 2, carrier 3, container 6, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 19
registered in other countries: 45 (Bahamas 1, Bahrain 5, Comoros 1, Libya 1, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 2, Panama 12, Qatar 6, Saudi Arabia 4, UAE 10) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina' Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi


Military branches

Kuwaiti Land Forces (KLF), Kuwaiti Navy, Kuwaiti Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya; includes Kuwaiti Air Defense Force, KADF), Kuwaiti National Guard (KNG) (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription suspended (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 1,002,480
females age 16-49: 616,958 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 840,912
females age 16-49: 523,206 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 17,653
female: 16,232 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures (% of GDP)

0% of GDP (2012)
3.35% of GDP (2011)
0% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 93,000 (2012); note - Kuwait's 1959 Nationality Law defined citizens as persons who settled in the country before 1920 and who had maintained normal residence since then; one-third of the population, descendants of Bedouin tribes, missed the window of opportunity to register for nationality rights after Kuwait became independent in 1961 and were classified as bidun (meaning without); since the 1980s Kuwait's bidun have progressively lost their rights, including opportunities for employment and education, amid official claims that they are nationals of other countries who have destroyed their identification documents in hopes of gaining Kuwaiti citizenship; Kuwaiti authorities have delayed processing citizenship applications and labeled biduns as "illegal residents," denying them access to civil documentation, such as birth and marriage certificates; 2011 bidun demonstrations for the recognition of their Kuwaiti nationality led to several arrests

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Kuwait is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser degree, forced prostitution; men and women migrate from India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran, Jordan, Ethiopia, and Iraq to work in Kuwait, most of them in the domestic service, construction, and sanitation sectors; although most of these migrants enter Kuwait voluntarily, upon arrival some are subjected to conditions of forced labor by their sponsors and labor agents, including nonpayment of wages, long working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as the withholding of passports or confinement to the workplace
tier rating: Tier 3 - Kuwait does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making sufficient efforts to do so; the government enacted comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in 2013 but did not report any arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of traffickers for either forced labor or sex trafficking in the last year; Kuwait's victim protection measures remain weak, particularly due to its lack of proactive victim identification procedures and continued reliance on the sponsorship system, which causes victims of trafficking to be punished for immigration violations rather than protected (2013)

Largest cities of Kuwait

These are the 50 largest cities of Kuwait ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Hawalli 93,312
2 Doha 37,804
3 Bayan 30,656
4 Kayfan 27,202