Demographics of Kuwait

Demographics of Kuwait

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Kuwait, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Approximately 96% of Kuwait's population is urbanized while 4% are nomadic or semi-nomadic. The State of Kuwait's current population is estimated at roughly 3-3.5 million people; counting both locals and foreigners. Roughly 1 million (or nearly one third) of Kuwait's population is local, with 2-2.5 million residents registered as foreigners/non-locals. It is estimated that one in every 3–4 people in Kuwait are of Kuwaiti citizenship.[citation needed]

In 2009, more than 580,000 Indian nationals lived in Kuwait making them the single largest expatriate community there.[1][2] The rest of the foreign population mainly consists of Egyptians, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Filipino and Sri Lankan residents. Other foreigners consist of European, North American and Northeast Asian communities – but these are negligible.

As for Kuwait's overall population, 60–65% are Arab (including Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti Arabs), 30–35% are Asian (mostly from the Indian subcontinent and Iranian plateau), and 5–10% are signified as "others". "Others" mostly includes Africans (Black), East Asian, or European.[citation needed]

Non-Arabs (Africans, Persians, East Asians, Europeans, other black or white populations) are generally socially-classed as "Ajam". "Ajam" is a term to describe a non-Arab.

Racially speaking, Kuwaitis are described usually tan/black. (Beedh, Sumur, respectively)... However the government does not include this in its database. Civil IDs have no form of racial/ethnic identities.[citation needed] Kuwaitis identify themselves as Arabs because Kuwait is an Arab country by constitution. Having said that, not all Kuwaitis are originally Arab. Some Kuwaitis are originally from Persia and other non-Arab countries, however, they assimilated with the Arabs of Kuwait after acquiring Kuwaiti citizenship and are therefore Arabized Arabs. Therefore, while some Kuwaitis originally trace themselves back to Arab origin (specifically the Najd area or Iraq), other Kuwaitis can trace themselves back to Iran and a few other non-Arab origins.

Kuwaitis are predominantly Muslim, though there are a few Christians or atheists. 95% of Kuwait's population is Muslim (Sunni 55%, Shi'a 45%), and 5% is another religion (includes Christian, Hindu, Parsi).[3] Some other minor Muslim sects do exist in Kuwait's society, but in very small or rare numbers. There are small numbers of Kuwaiti Christians and Jews.[4] The 93% literacy rate, one of the Arab world's highest, is due to extensive government support for the education system. Public school education, including Kuwait University, is free, but access is restricted for foreign residents. The government sends qualified students abroad for degrees not offered at Kuwait University. About 1,000 Kuwaitis are currently studying in U.S. universities.[citation needed]

Kuwait's official language is Arabic, though only roughly half the country speaks the language primarily. Most foreigners speak Hindi, Urdu, Filipino or Bengali. Most Kuwaitis are also bilingual in that they speak more than one language. E.g. English, Persian, etc.

Kuwait has numerous cases of illegal immigration. It is thought that there are at least 10,000–15,000 illegal immigrants in the country.[citation needed] These immigrants were not deported back to their homelands after their contracts expired. The population of illegals is increasing by 5,000 individuals each year. It is a hard task deporting or catching the citizens. The last solution would be to naturalize them, but in this case it would affect the demographics of Kuwait significantly.

Other population difficulties encountered in Kuwait involves stateless people who claim residency for Kuwait. Critics argue that these people migrated from Iraq and Saudi Arabia after the economic boom of Kuwait. Since Kuwait's standard of living increased, many have flocked to the country. Most stateless people are Arabs, and count up to 100,000 people. Some are slowly naturalized through different legislative processes, which is ultimately increasing the Arab population of Kuwaiti people. Most obtain nationality by marrying Kuwaiti women. 30–35% of stateless men in adulthood (capable of marital status) have married Kuwait women, and this number is rising.

Some encourage the assimilation of stateless and illegal people.


CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Age structure

  • 0–14 years: 25.8% (male 348,816; female 321,565)
  • 15–64 years: 72.2% (male 1,153,433; female 720,392)
  • 65 years and over: 2% (male 25,443; female 25,979) (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

  • 1.986% (2011 est.)

Birth rate

  • 21.32 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death rate

  • 2.11 deaths/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Net migration rate

  • 0.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Gender ratio

  • at birth: 1.047 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
  • 15–64 years: 1.79 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 1.65 male(s)/female
  • total population: 1.54 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant mortality rate

  • 8.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

  • total population: 77.09 years
  • male: 75.95 years
  • female: 78.3 years (2011 est.)

Total fertility rate

  • 2.64 children born/woman (2011 est.)


  • noun: Kuwaiti(s)
  • adjective: Kuwaiti

Ethnic groups (by nationality)

  • Kuwaiti 45%
  • Other Arab nationals 35%
  • South Asian 9%
  • Iranian 4%
  • Other 7%


  • Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), other 15%[5]


  • Arabic (official)
  • English widely spoken
  • Balochi
  • Hindi/Urdu
  • Bangla
  • Other languages are spoken by the large South Asian expatriate population.


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 93.3%

Historical demographics

April 22, 1975 and April 21, 1980 censuses[6]
Religion Men 1975 (1980) Women 1975 (1980) Total 1975 (1980)
Christians 22,711 (51,354) 22,007 (35,728) 44,718 (87,082)
Muslims 517,808 (702,992) 426,973 (539,716) 944,781 (1,242,708)
Other 3,249 (22,293) 2,089 (5,869) 5,338 (28,162)
Total 543,768 (776,639) 451,069 (581,313) 994,837 (1,357,952)

See also :

Kuwait Arab Dutch


  1. ^ Respect Kuwait's values, culture and tradition, ambassador urges Indians
  2. ^ A microcosm of India in the heart of oil-rich Kuwait
  3. ^ CIA – The World Factbook – Kuwait
  4. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2005 (US State Department)
  5. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Kuwait
  6. ^ Annuaire démographique des Nations-Unies 1983, Département des affaires économiques et sociales internationales, New York, 1985

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