Middle East :: Kuwait
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Kuwait
Location of Kuwait
 
Map of Kuwait
Introduction ::Kuwait
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 May 2009 of four women to its National Assembly.
Geography ::Kuwait
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
29 30 N, 45 45 E
total: 17,818 sq km
country comparison to the world: 157
land: 17,818 sq km
water: 0 sq km
slightly smaller than New Jersey
total: 462 km
border countries: Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 km
499 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
flat to slightly undulating desert plain
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 306 m
petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
arable land: 0.84%
permanent crops: 0.17%
other: 98.99% (2005)
130 sq km (2003)
0.02 cu km (1997)
total: 0.44 cu km/yr (45%/2%/52%)
per capita: 164 cu m/yr (2000)
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
limited natural fresh water resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
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
strategic location at head of Persian Gulf
People ::Kuwait
2,691,158
country comparison to the world: 139
note: includes 1,291,354 non-nationals (July 2009 est.)
0-14 years: 26.4% (male 361,150/female 348,518)
15-64 years: 70.7% (male 1,219,075/female 683,587)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 49,163/female 29,665) (2009 est.)
total: 26.2 years
male: 28.1 years
female: 22.7 years (2009 est.)
3.547%
country comparison to the world: 3
note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2009 est.)
21.81 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
2.35 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
16.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
urban population: 98% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.78 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.66 male(s)/female
total population: 1.54 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 8.96 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 159
male: 9.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 77.71 years
country comparison to the world: 53
male: 76.51 years
female: 78.95 years (2009 est.)
2.76 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
0.12% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
NA (2007 est.)
NA
noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti
Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%
Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shia 30%), other (includes Christian, Hindu, Parsi) 15%
Arabic (official), English widely spoken
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.3%
male: 94.4%
female: 91% (2005 census)
total: 13 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2006)
3.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 119
Government ::Kuwait
conventional long form: State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
local short form: Al Kuwayt
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)
6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al 'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir
19 June 1961 (from the UK)
National Day, 25 February (1950)
approved and promulgated 11 November 1962
civil law system with Islamic law significant in personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
21 years of age; universal (adult); note - males in the military or police are not allowed to vote; adult females were allowed to vote as of 16 May 2005; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years
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 NASIR AL-MUHAMMAD al-Ahmad al-Sabah (since 3 April 2007); First Deputy Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBAREK al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 9 February 2006); Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD AL-SABAH al-Salim al-Sabah (since 9 February 2006)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the amir
elections: none; the amir is hereditary; the amir appoints the prime minister and deputy prime ministers
unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; all cabinet ministers are also ex officio voting members of the National Assembly)
elections: last held 16 May 2009 (next election to be held in 2013)
election results: percent of vote by bloc - NA; seats by bloc - Sunni Muslim groups 11, liberals 7, Shiite Muslim groups 6, Popular Action Bloc 3, unaffiliated tribal groups 23
High Court of Appeal
none; formation of political parties is in practice illegal but is not forbidden by law
other: Islamists; merchants; political groups; secular liberals and pro-governmental deputies; Shia activists; tribal groups
ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BDEAC, CAEU, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
chief of mission: Ambassador SALIM al-Abdallah al-Jabir al-Sabah
chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
FAX: [1] (202) 364-2868
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
chief of mission: Ambassador Deborah K. JONES
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] 259-1001
FAX: [965] 538-0282
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side; design, which dates to 1961, based on the Arab revolt flag of World War I
Economy ::Kuwait
Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with self-reported crude oil reserves of about 104 billion barrels - 8% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. Kuwait experienced rapid economic growth over the last several years on the back of high oil prices and in 2008 posted its tenth consecutive budget surplus. As a result of this positive fiscal situation, the need for economic reforms was less urgent and the government did not push through new initiatives. The drop in oil prices in late 2008 will reduce Kuwait's fiscal surplus in 2009. The global financial crisis may slow the pace of investment and development projects, but Kuwait has vowed to use its considerable financial resources to stabilize the economy if necessary.
$149.1 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
$137.5 billion (2007 est.)
$131.3 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$158.1 billion (2008 est.)
8.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
4.7% (2007 est.)
6.3% (2006 est.)
$57,400 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
$54,900 (2007 est.)
$54,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 52.2%
services: 47.5% (2008 est.)
2.088 million
country comparison to the world: 119
note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 80% of the labor force (2008 est.)
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
2.2% (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
18.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
revenues: $105.2 billion
expenditures: $58.08 billion (2008 est.)
7.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
29.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
10.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
5.5% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 70
6.25% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 100
8.54% (31 December 2007)
$15.31 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 49
$15.12 billion (31 December 2007)
$63.08 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 33
$55.2 billion (31 December 2007)
$83.93 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 47
$78.25 billion (31 December 2007)
$107.2 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 40
$188 billion (31 December 2007)
$128.9 billion (31 December 2006)
practically no crops; fish
petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water desalination, food processing, construction materials
8% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
45.83 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
40.21 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
2.741 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
325,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
2.349 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
104 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
12.7 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
12.7 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 79
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
1.794 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
$61.92 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
$47.48 billion (2007 est.)
$89.4 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
$63.68 billion (2007 est.)
oil and refined products, fertilizers
Japan 20.9%, South Korea 15%, US 10.2%, Singapore 9%, China 6.6%, Netherlands 4.2% (2008)
$24.91 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
$20.63 billion (2007 est.)
food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
US 11.5%, Japan 8.9%, Germany 7.9%, China 7.1%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, South Korea 6.5%, Italy 4.6%, India 4.2%, UK 4.1% (2008)
$17.23 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
$16.78 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$36.93 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
$33.62 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$1.22 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
$942 million (31 December 2007 est.)
$28.29 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
$16.93 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US dollar - 0.2679 (2008 est.), 0.2844 (2007), 0.29 (2006), 0.292 (2005), 0.2947 (2004)
Communications ::Kuwait
541,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 94
2.907 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 110
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 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)
AM 6, FM 11, shortwave 1 (1998)
13 (plus several satellite channels) (1997)
.kw
2,305 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 148
1 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 88
Transportation ::Kuwait
7 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 168
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
4 (2009)
gas 269 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2008)
total: 5,749 km
country comparison to the world: 150
paved: 4,887 km
unpaved: 862 km (2004)
total: 38
country comparison to the world: 79
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 1, carrier 3, container 6, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 22
registered in other countries: 34 (Bahrain 5, Comoros 1, Libya 1, Panama 2, Qatar 7, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saudi Arabia 7, UAE 10) (2008)
Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina' Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi
Military ::Kuwait
Kuwaiti Land Forces (KLF), Kuwaiti Navy, Kuwaiti Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya), Kuwaiti National Guard (KNG) (2008)
18-30 years of age for compulsory and 18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; women age 18-30 may be subject to compulsory military service; conscription suspended in 2001 (2009)
males age 16-49: 1,032,408
females age 16-49: 568,657 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 935,525
females age 16-49: 519,854 (2009 est.)
male: 18,122
female: 18,865 (2009 est.)
5.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 16
Transnational Issues ::Kuwait
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf
current situation: Kuwait is a destination country for men and women who migrate legally from South and Southeast Asia for domestic or low-skilled labor, but are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude by employers in Kuwait including conditions of physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, confinement to the home, and withholding of passports to restrict their freedom of movement; Kuwait is reportedly a transit point for South and East Asian workers recruited for low-skilled work in Iraq; some of these workers are deceived as to the true location and nature of this work, and others are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in Iraq
tier rating: Tier 3 - insufficient efforts in 2007 to prosecute and punish abusive employers and those who traffic women for sexual exploitation; the government failed for the fourth year in a row to live up to promises to provide shelter and protective services for victims of involuntary domestic servitude and other forms of trafficking (2008)