Area: 17,820 sq. km. (6,880 sq. mi.); approximately the size of the
State of New Jersey.
Cities: Capital--Kuwait City, pop. (2002 est.) 413,170.
Other cities--Ahmadi, Jahra, Fahaheel.
Terrain: Almost entirely flat desert plain (highest elevation
Climate: Summers are intensely hot and dry with average highs
ranging from 42o-46oC (108o-115oF);
winters are short (Dec.-Feb.) and cool, averaging 10o-30oC
(50o-80oF), with limited rain.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Kuwaiti(s).
Population (Dec. 2004 est.): 2.8 million, including about 1.8
million non-Kuwaiti citizens.
Annual growth rate: 4.8%.
Ethnic groups: Kuwaiti 35%, other Arab 22%, non-Arab (primarily
Asian) 39%, stateless 4%.
Religion: Muslim 75% (Sunni 70%, Shi’a 30% among Kuwaitis), with
small Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities.
Languages: Arabic (official), English is widely spoken.
Education: Compulsory from ages 6-14; free at all levels for
Kuwaitis, including higher education. Adult literacy (age 15 and
over)--83.5% for the overall population (male 85.1%, female
81.7%), 91.2% for Kuwaitis (male 91.4%, female 90.8%).
Health: Infant mortality rate--11 deaths/1,000 live births.
Life expectancy--75 yrs. male, 77 yrs. female.
Work force (2002 actual): 1.364 million (of which about 19% are
Kuwaiti nationals. 62.7% male; 37.3% female).
Type: Constitutional hereditary emirate.
Independence: June 19, 1961 (from U.K.).
Constitution: Approved and promulgated November 11, 1962.
Branches: Executive--Amir (head of state); prime minister
(head of government); Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by
prime minister and approved by the Amir. Legislative--unicameral
elected National Assembly (Majlis al-'Umma) of 50 members who serve
4-year terms. Judicial--High Court of Appeal.
Administrative subdivisions: Six governorates (muhafazat): Al 'Asimah,
Hawalli, Al Ahmadi, Al Jahra', Mubarak Al-Kebir, and Al Farwaniyah.
Political parties: None; formal political parties are not officially
recognized although de facto political blocs exist.
Elections: There are no executive branch elections; the Amir is
hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime ministers are appointed
by the Amir. Legislative branch elections were last held July 5,
2003 (next National Assembly election is due in 2007).
Suffrage: Adult males and as of May 16, 2005, adult females, who
have been citizens for 20 years and are not in the security forces
(about 14% of all citizens).
GDP (2004 est.): $48 billion.
Real GDP growth rate (2004): 6.8%.
Natural resources: Oil, natural gas, fish.
Agriculture (about 0.3% of GDP): With the exception of fish, most
food is imported. Cultivated land--1%.
Industry (about 60% of GDP): Types--petroleum extraction and
refining, fertilizer, chemicals, desalination, construction
Services (about 39% of GDP): public administration, finance, real
estate, trade, hotels and restaurants
Trade (2004): Exports --$27.42 billion: oil (91.3%). Major
markets--Japan 25%, South Korea 13%, U.S. 12%, Singapore 10%,
Netherlands 4.5%. Imports--$11.12 billion: food, construction
materials, vehicles and parts, clothing. Major suppliers--U.S.
13%, Japan 11%, Germany 9%, U.K. 6%, Saudi Arabia 6%.