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By Details > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Kuwait
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Map of Kuwait
Background: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.
Location:Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:29 30 N, 45 45 E
Map references:Middle East
Area:total: 17,820 sq km
land: 17,820 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries:total: 462 km
border countries: Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 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
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 306 m

Natural resources:petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
Land use:arable land: 0.73%
permanent crops: 0.11%
other: 99.16% (2001)

Irrigated land:60 sq km (1998 est.)
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
Environment - current issues: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
Environment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping

Geography - note:strategic location at head of Persian Gulf
note: includes 1,291,354 non-nationals (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 27.2% (male 323,382/female 311,700)
15-64 years: 70.1% (male 1,045,589/female 591,243)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 40,439/female 23,295) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 25.86 years
male: 28.05 years
female: 22.12 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:3.44%
note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2005 est.)

Birth rate:21.88 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:2.42 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:14.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.77 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1.52 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 9.95 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 77.03 years
male: 76.01 years
female: 78.1 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.97 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.12% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:NA
Nationality:noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti

Ethnic groups:Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%
Religions:Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
Languages:Arabic (official), English widely spoken
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.5%
male: 85.1%
female: 81.7% (2003 est.)

Country name:conventional long form: State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
local short form: Al Kuwayt

Government type:nominal constitutional monarchy
Administrative divisions:5 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al Farwaniyah, Al 'Asimah, Al Jahra', Hawalli
Independence:19 June 1961 (from UK)
National holiday:National Day, 25 February (1950)
Constitution:approved and promulgated 11 November 1962
Legal system:civil law system with Islamic law significant in personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:adult males who have been naturalized for 30 years or more or have resided in Kuwait since before 1920 and their male descendants at age 21
note: only 10% of all citizens are eligible to vote; in 1996, naturalized citizens who do not meet the pre-1920 qualification but have been naturalized for 30 years were eligible to vote for the first time

Executive branch:chief of state: Amir JABIR al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 31 December 1977); Crown Prince SAAD al-Abdullah al-Salim Al Sabah
head of government: Prime Minister SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 13 July 2003); First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior NAWWAF al-Ahmad Al Sabah (since 2003); Deputy Prime Ministers JABIR MUBARAK al-Hamad Al Sabah (since 2001) and Muhammad Dayfallah al-SHARAR (since 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch:unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 6 July 2003 (next to be held NA 2007)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - Islamists 21, government supporters 14, liberals 3, and independents 12; note - all cabinet ministers are also ex officio members of the National Assembly

Judicial branch:High Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:none; formation of political parties is illegal
Political pressure groups and leaders:several political groups act as de facto parties: Bedouins, merchants, Sunni and Shi'a activists, and secular leftists and nationalists
Flag description: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 - overview:Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with proved crude oil reserves of about 96 billion barrels - 10% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. Kuwait's climate limits agricultural development. Consequently, with the exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports. About 75% of potable water must be distilled or imported. Kuwait continues its discussions with foreign oil companies to develop fields in the northern part of the country.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $48 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:6.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $21,300 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 0.4%
industry: 60.5%
services: 39.1% (2004 est.)

Labor force:1.42 million
note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 80% of the labor force (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:agriculture NA, industries NA, services NA
Unemployment rate:2.2% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.3% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $35.82 billion
expenditures: $19.53 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:29.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:practically no crops; fish
Industries:petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, desalination, food processing, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate:-5% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:32.43 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:30.16 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:2.319 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:293,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:1.97 million bbl/day (2003)
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:96.5 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:8.7 billion cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:8.7 billion cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:1.548 trillion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:$12.04 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$27.42 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:oil and refined products, fertilizers
Exports - partners:Japan 22.6%, US 13.4%, South Korea 13.4%, Singapore 12.4%, Taiwan 8.4%, Netherlands 4.1% (2004)
Imports:$11.12 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
Imports - partners:US 13.1%, Germany 12.7%, Japan 8.2%, China 5.9%, Italy 5.4%, UK 5.4%, Saudi Arabia 4.7%, France 4.6% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$7.333 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$15.02 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
Currency code:KWD
Exchange rates:Kuwaiti dinars per US dollar - 0.2947 (2004), 0.298 (2003), 0.3039 (2002), 0.3067 (2001), 0.3068 (2000)
Fiscal year:1 April - 31 March
Telephones - main lines in use:486,900 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1.42 million (2003)
Telephone system: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; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; linked to Bahrain, Qatar, UAE via the Fiber-Optic Gulf (FOG) cable; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean, 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean), and 2 Arabsat

Radio broadcast stations:AM 6, FM 11, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:1.175 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:13 (plus several satellite channels) (1997)
Televisions:875,000 (1997)
Internet country
Internet hosts:3,437 (2001)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):3 (2000)
Internet users:567,000 (2003)
Highways:total: 4,450 km
paved: 3,587 km
unpaved: 863 km (1999 est.)

Pipelines:gas 169 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi, Mina' Su'ud
Merchant marine:total: 39 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,319,082 GRT/3,768,828 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 3, container 6, liquefied gas 5, livestock carrier 5, petroleum tanker 20
registered in other countries: 19 (2005)

Airports:7 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)

Heliports:3 (2004 est.)
Military branches:Land Forces, Navy, Air Force (includes Air Defense Force), National Guard (2002)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 864,745 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 737,292 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 18,743 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$2,584.5 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:5.3% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf

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