Kuwait Population: 2,916,467

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Kuwait has been ruled by the AL-SABAH dynasty since the 18th century. The threat of Ottoman invasion in 1899 prompted Amir Mubarak AL-SABAH to seek protection from Britain, ceding foreign and defense responsibility to Britain until 1961, when the country attained its independence. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq in August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led UN coalition began a ground assault in February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. In 1992, the Amir reconstituted the parliament that he had dissolved in 1986. Amid the 2010-11 uprisings and protests across the Arab world, stateless Arabs, known as Bidoon, staged small protests in early 2011 demanding citizenship, jobs, and other benefits available to Kuwaiti nationals. Other demographic groups, notably Islamists and Kuwaitis from tribal backgrounds, soon joined the growing protest movements, which culminated in late 2011 with the resignation of the prime minister amidst allegations of corruption. Demonstrations renewed in late 2012 in response to an amiri decree amending the electoral law that lessened the voting power of the tribal blocs. An opposition coalition of Sunni Islamists, tribal populists, and some liberals, largely boycotted legislative elections in 2012 and 2013, which ushered in a legislature more amenable to the government's agenda. Faced with the prospect of painful subsidy cuts, oppositionists and independents actively participated in the November 2016 election, winning nearly half of the seats but a cohesive opposition alliance largely ceased to exist with the 2016 election and the opposition became increasingly factionalized. Since coming to power in 2006, the Amir has dissolved the National Assembly on seven occasions (the Constitutional Court annulled the Assembly elections 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.

    Strategic location at head of Persian Gulf
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 29 30 N, 45 45 E
Area: total: 17,818 sq km
land: 17,818 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land Boundaries: total: 475 km border countries (2): Iraq 254 km, Saudi Arabia 221 km
Coastline: 499 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
Terrain: flat to slightly undulating desert plain
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
Land use: agricultural land: 8.5% (2011 est.) arable land: 0.6% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 0.3% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 7.6% (2011 est.) forest: 0.4% (2011 est.)
other: 91.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 105 sq km (2012)
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
Current Environment 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; loss of biodiversity
International Environment 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
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Nationality: noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti
Ethnic groups: Kuwaiti 30.4%, other Arab 27.4%, Asian 40.3%, African 1%, other .9% (includes European, North American, South American, and Australian) (2018 est.)
Languages: Arabic (official), English widely spoken
Religions: Muslim (official) 74.6%, Christian 18.2%, other and unspecified 7.2% (2013 est.)

note: data represent the total population; about 69% of the population consists of immigrants
Population: 2,916,467 (July 2017 est.) (July 2018 est.) note: Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates the country's total population to be 4,437,590 for 2017, with immigrants accounting for more than 69.5%
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24.81% (male 376,652 /female 347,019)
15-24 years: 15.04% (male 240,638 /female 197,946)
25-54 years: 52.3% (male 961,205 /female 563,979)
55-64 years: 5.2% (male 85,146 /female 66,373)
65 years and over: 2.66% (male 35,117 /female 42,392) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 29.8 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 27.1 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 2.7 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 37.3 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 29.4 years
male: 30.5 years
female: 27.6 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.38% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 18.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 2.3 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 100% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 2.989 million KUWAIT (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.22 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.7 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.28 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.4 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births male: 6.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.3 years male: 76.9 years
female: 79.8 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.35 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Physicians density: 2.58 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
Hospital bed density: 2 beds/1,000 population (2014)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99% of population

urban: 1% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
total: 100% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: <.1% (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: <1000 (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: <100 (2017 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 37.9% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 3% (2014)
Education expenditures: n/a
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2017 est.)
total population: 96%
male: 96.7%
female: 94.8% (2017 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years male: 13 years female: 14 years (2013)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 15.4% male: 9.4% N/A female: 30% N/A (2016 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
local short form: Al Kuwayt
etymology: the name derives from the capital city, which is from Arabic "al-Kuwayt" a diminutive of "kut" meaning "fortress," possibly a reference to a small castle built on the current location of Kuwait City by the Beni Khaled tribe in the 17th century
Government type: constitutional monarchy (emirate)
Capital: name: Kuwait City
geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the name derives from Arabic "al-Kuwayt" a diminutive of "kut" meaning "fortress," possibly a reference to a small castle built on the current location of Kuwait City by the Beni Khaled tribe in the 17th century
Administrative divisions: 6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al 'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir
Independence: 19 June 1961 (from the UK)
National holiday: National Day, 25 February (1950)
Constitution: history: approved and promulgated 11 November 1962 amendments: proposed by the amir or supported by at least one-third of the National Assembly; passage requires two-thirds consent by the Assembly membership and promulgation by the amir; constitutional articles on the initiation, approval, and promulgation of general legislation cannot be amended (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system consisting of English common law, French civil law, and Islamic sharia law
Suffrage: 21 years of age and at least 20-year citizenship
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

head of government: Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBARAK al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 30 November 2011); First Deputy Prime Minister NASIR Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (since 11 December 2017); Deputy Prime Ministers SABAH KHALID al-Hamid al-Sabah (since 13 December 2011), KHALID al-Jarrah al-Sabah (since 4 August 2013), Anas Khalid al-SALEH (since 4 August 2013)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by the amir elections/appointments: amir chosen from within the ruling family, confirmed by the National Assembly; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the amir; crown prince appointed by the amir and approved by the National Assembly
Legislative branch: description: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (65 seats; 50 members directly elected from 5 multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 15 ex-officio members (cabinet ministers) appointed by the amir; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 26 November 2016 (next to be held in 2020)

election results: seats won - oppositionists and independents, including populists, Islamists, and liberals 26, pro-government loyalists 24; composition for elected members only - men 49, women 1, percent of women 1.5% note: seats as of May 2019 -  oppositionists and independents, including populists, Islamists, and liberals 25, pro-government loyalists 25; composition as of May 2019 for elected members only - men 49, women 1, percent of women 2% 
Judicial branch: highest courts: Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges); Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (organized into several circuits, each with 5 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; the government does not recognize any political parties or allow their formation, although no formal law bans political parties
International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BDEAC, CAEU, CD, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UN Security Council (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): golden falcon;
national colors: green, white, red, black
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
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) 966-8468
consulate(s) general: New York City consulate(s): Lost Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Lawrence R. SILVERMAN (since 5 October 2016)
embassy: P.O. Box 77, Safat 13001
mailing address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000
telephone: [965] 2259-1001
FAX: [965] 2538-6562
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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. Kuwaiti officials plan to increase production to 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2020. Petroleum accounts for over half of GDP, 92% of export revenues, and 90% of government income. With world oil prices declining, Kuwait realized a budget deficit in 2015 for the first time more than a decade; in 2016, the deficit grew to 16.5% of GDP. Kuwaiti authorities announced cuts to fuel subsidies in August 2016, provoking outrage among the public and National Assembly, and the Amir dissolved the government for the seventh time in ten years. In 2017 the deficit was reduced to 7.2% of GDP, and the government raised $8 billion by issuing international bonds. Despite Kuwait’s dependence on oil, the government has cushioned itself against the impact of lower oil prices, by saving annually at least 10% of government revenue in the Fund for Future Generations. Kuwait has failed to diversify its economy or bolster the private sector, because of a poor business climate, a large public sector that employs about 74% of citizens, and an acrimonious relationship between the National Assembly and the executive branch that has stymied most economic reforms. The Kuwaiti Government has made little progress on its long-term economic development plan first passed in 2010. While the government planned to spend up to $104 billion over four years to diversify the economy, attract more investment, and boost private sector participation in the economy, many of the projects did not materialize because of an uncertain political situation or delays in awarding contracts. To increase non-oil revenues, the Kuwaiti Government in August 2017 approved draft bills supporting a Gulf Cooperation Council-wide value added tax scheduled to take effect in 2018.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $289.7 billion (2017 est.) $299.7 billion (2016 est.) $293.2 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $120.7 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -3.3% (2017 est.) 2.2% (2016 est.) -1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $65,800 (2017 est.) $69,900 (2016 est.) $69,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 35.4% of GDP (2017 est.) 32.9% of GDP (2016 est.) 37.1% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 43.1% (2017 est.) government consumption: 24.5% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 26.5% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 3.5% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 49.4% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -47% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 0.4% (2017 est.) industry: 58.7% (2017 est.) services: 40.9% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: fish
Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water desalination, food processing, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate: 2.8% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 2.695 million (2017 est.) note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 60% of the labor force
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: n/a
industry: n/a
services: n/a
Unemployment rate: 1.1% (2017 est.) 1.1% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: n/a
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 50.5 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 62.6 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 41.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -10% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 20.6% of GDP (2017 est.) 9.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (2017 est.) 3.5% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: $7.127 billion (2017 est.) -$5.056 billion (2016 est.)
Exports: $55.17 billion (2017 est.) $46.26 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: oil and refined products, fertilizers
Exports - partners: South Korea 18.3%, China 17.4%, Japan 11.5%, India 11.2%, Singapore 6.3%, US 5.7% (2017)
Imports: $29.53 billion (2017 est.) $26.56 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
Imports - partners: China 13.5%, US 13.3%, UAE 9.5%, Saudi Arabia 5.8%, Germany 5.4%, Japan 5%, India 4.7%, Italy 4.5% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $33.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $31.13 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $47.24 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $38.34 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $12.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $12.62 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $82.35 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $74.13 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $81.78 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $83.13 billion (31 December 2015 est.) $99.77 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Exchange rates: Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US dollar - 0.3041 (2017 est.) 0.3022 (2016 est.) 0.3022 (2015 est.) 0.3009 (2014 est.) 0.2845 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 65.95 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 57.78 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 18.89 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 2.753 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 479,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 101.5 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 915,800 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 446,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 705,500 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 17.1 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 21.72 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 5.125 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 1.784 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 106.5 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 5,136,384
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 179 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: the quality of service is excellent; 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 4G LTE mobile-cellular telephone system operates throughout Kuwai; Internet access is available via 4G LTE connections for fixed and mobile users; high ownership of smart phone in Kuwait; one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world (2018)

domestic: fixed-line subscriptions are 19 per 100 and mobile-cellular stands at 179 per 100 subscriptions (2018)

international: country code - 965; 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)
Broadcast media: state-owned TV broadcaster operates 4 networks and a satellite channel; several private TV broadcasters have emerged; satellite TV available and pan-Arab TV stations are 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 (2019)
Internet country code: .kw
Internet users: total: 2,219,972
percent of population: 78.4% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 7 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 4
(2017) over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Heliports: 4 (2013)
Pipelines: 261 km gas, 540 km oil, 57 km refined products (2013)
Roadways: total 5,749 km
(2018) paved: 4,887 km (2018)
unpaved: 862 km (2018)
Merchant marine: total 158

by type: general cargo 18, oil tanker 26, other 114 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina' Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi
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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: 17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription suspended (2012)
Military expenditures: 4.83% of GDP (2015) 3.65% of GDP (2014) 3.27% of GDP (2013) 3.41% of GDP (2012) 3.5% of GDP (2011)
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 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: 92,000 (2018); 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
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook


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