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Kuwait - People

Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates the country's total population to be 4,183,658 for 2015, with immigrants accounting more than 69%. Ethnic groups include 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.). Muslim are estimated at 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30% among Kuwaitis), with sizable Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist communities. CIA estimated the population as 2,788,534 as of July 2015.

Kuwait launched a new initiative designed to alter the countrys demographics, following moves to limit the number of foreign expatriate workers in the coronavirus-stricken country. An estimated 70 percent of Kuwaits population were currently expats, a figure that the Kuwaiti government had long talked about reducing as it attempts to raise employment among Kuwaiti citizens. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has spurred Kuwaitization schemes, with authorities announcing in August 2020 the intention to deport hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from the country.

The initiative followed the announcement in the Kuwait Times 27 August 2020 that expats in Kuwait over the age of 60 without a degree have until the end of the year to leave the country. The move sparked backlash from the Kuwaiti food and beverage sector, which relies on expat workers to function. This followed the news that Kuwait would stop issuing work permits for expats aged over 60 without a university degree. The new rules were part of a government plan to cut the overall number of expats in the country by as much as 360,000 workers. According to this plan, 150,000 of these will be expats aged over 60.

Over 90% of the population lives within a 500-square kilometer area surrounding Kuwait City and its harbor. Although the majority of people residing in the State of Kuwait are of Arab origin, fewer than half are originally from the Arabian Peninsula. The discovery of oil in 1938 drew many Arabs from nearby states. Following the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in 1991, the Kuwaiti Government undertook a serious effort to reduce the expatriate population by specifically limiting the entry of workers from nations whose leaders had supported Iraq during the Gulf War. Kuwait later abandoned this policy, and it has a sizable foreign labor force (approximately 68% of the total population is non-Kuwaiti).

Of the country's total population of 3.6 million, approximately 85% are Muslims, including nearly all of its 1.16 million citizens. While the national census does not distinguish between Sunni and Shi'a adherents, approximately 70%-75% of citizens, including the ruling family, belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. The remaining 25%-30% of Kuwaiti citizens are Shia, with the exception of about 100-200 Christians and a few Baha'is. Among expatriates, there are an estimated 450,000 Christians, 300,000 Hindus, 100,000 Buddhists, 10,000 Sikhs, and 400 Bahai.

Kuwait's 93.3% literacy rate, one of the Arab world's highest, is the result of extensive government support for the education system. Public school education, including Kuwait University, is free, but access is restricted for foreign residents. The government sponsors the foreign study of qualified students abroad for degrees not offered at Kuwait University. In 2009, approximately 3,300 Kuwaitis were enrolled in U.S. universities.

In June 30, 2012, the population of Kuwait was estimated at 3,268,431 persons according to the Central Statistical office o Kuwait. In this census, the number of Kuwaitis reached 1,128,381 while the rest were non-Kuwaitis and foreigners. In June 30, 2012, the population of Kuwait was estimated at 3,268,431 persons according to the Central Statistical office. In this census, the number of Kuwaitis reached 1,128,381 while the rest were non-Kuwaitis and foreigners.

The City of Kuwait and its suburbs contain most of the Kuwaiti population, especially on the shore of the Arabian Gulf. The main source of data for the growth of Kuwait population across the history is from the estimates recorded by travelers who used to pass through the country. In 1957, the first official census carried out. Its results stated that the Kuwaiti population reached 206.473 persons. The number of non-Kuwaitis was 92,851.

In 1961, the Kuwaiti population was estimated at 321,621 persons, comprising 62% males and 37% females. The arrival of large numbers of immigrants at that time resulted in this gender percentage gap. Every five years since 1965, Kuwait has regularly conducted censuses.

In 1985, the population reached 1,697,301 persons, comprised 56% males and 44% females. In 1990, the population reached 2,141,465 persons. The percentage of non-Kuwaitis scored 72%. In same year, the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait occurred. As a result, large number of the non-Kuwaitis emigrated. Hence, major changes in the population structure took place.

In 1995, the Kuwaiti population reached 1.577.598 persons. The percentage of non-Kuwaitis was 58%. On April 2005, the ninth census was carried out for people, housing and facilities. This census is the first for the State of Kuwait in the Twenty-First Century. The preliminary estimates showed that the Kuwaiti population reached 2,213,403 persons. The number of Kuwaitis was 880.774 and that for non-Kuwaitis was 1,332,629.

Sex ratio at birth is an indicator of certain kinds of sex discrimination in some countries. For instance, high sex ratios at birth in some Asian countries are now attributed to sex-selective abortion and infanticide due to a strong preference for sons. This will affect future marriage patterns and fertility patterns. Eventually, it could cause unrest among young adult males who are unable to find partners. Sex ratio can vary within and between populations and change over time due to the affects of psychosocial, demographic and environmental factors capable of interfering with human reproduction. But in this case, the strange age pyramid seems to reflect the large number of male working-age guest workers.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 17:42:10 ZULU