macrohistory & world report

State of Kuwait

map of gulf states

Kuwait and neighbors around the Persian Gulf

World Factbook as of October 2014:Kuwait has a geographically small, but wealthy, relatively open economy with crude oil reserves of about 102 billion barrels - more than 6% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 95% of government income. Kuwaiti officials have committed to increasing oil production to 4 million barrels per day by 2020. Budget surpluses have stayed around 30% of GDP, which has led to higher budget expenditures, particularly wage hikes for many public sector employees, as well as increased allotments to Kuwait's Future Generations Fund. Kuwait has done little to diversify its economy, in part, because of this positive fiscal situation, and, in part, due to the poor business climate and the historically acrimonious relationship between the National Assembly and the executive branch, which has stymied most movement on economic reforms. In 2010, Kuwait passed an economic development plan that pledges to spend up to $130 billion over five years to diversify the economy away from oil, attract more investment, and boost private sector participation in the economy, though much of these funds have yet to be allocated."

Economic growth rate
2013: 2.3%
2012: 8.3%

Desalination facilities provide about 75% of Kuwait's water.

Kuwait has imported much of its labor, non-nationals number 1.3 million included in a population of 2.57 million – 57% of the population.

Factbook: "Kuwait's climate limits agricultural development. Consequently, with the exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports."

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 5.3%


Kuwait's births in 2012 are estimated at 20.96 per 1.000 per year (compared to 9.51 for Switzerland) – high for a wealthy country that is already somewhat densely populated, just a bit higher than Saudi Arabia.

Living in an urban area
98% (2010)

Muslims are 70% Sunni and 30% Shia and together 85% of the population.


Between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, with 499 kilometers of coastline on the northwest corner of the Persian Gulf. Equivalent in area to 133.5 by 133.5 kilometers or roughly 83.5 by 83.5 miles.


(As of May 2014) Chief of state: Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (head of the ruling House of the Sabah family), since 29 January 2006. Head of government: Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah (prime minister) since 4 December 2011, Independent.

Declared to be a constitutional monarchy. Kuwait has Sharia law that includes imprisonment for blasphemy. Capital: Kuwait City

Recent History

Between August 1990 and February 23, 1991 Kuwait was occupied by Iraq.

November 25, 2008: Kuwait has an elected parliament that is clashing with the prime minister, who is a member of the royal family. The Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah, walked out of parliament, and without the government in attendance, parliament is not able to proceed with any business.

The World Factbook

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