Kuwaiti Facts and Figures

Kuwait (الكويت‎), officially known as the State of Kuwait, is a country in Western Asia. The country ranks highly among its regional counterparts in the protection of civil liberties, press freedom, and constitutionalism. With this facts about Kuwait, let’s learn more about its history, economy, political system, oil reserves, war with Iraq and more.

  • The name “Kuwait” is derived from Arabic word “Kut”, meaning “fort”.
  • Kuwait was once a home of the shifting nomads. People would come and go and never settled for the long term until the 18th century.
  • During the eighteenth century, nomadic tribes and clans suffering from the drought of the desert settled on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. The modern-day Kuwaitis are the descendants of these early day settlers. They built forts to protect themselves from other nomadic tribes and by-passers, and hence the name of the country originated.
  • Oil reserves in the country were discovered in 1934. Kuwait’s oil reserves are the world’s sixth largest.
  • The Kuwaiti Dinar, the official currency of Kuwait, is the highest-valued currency in the world. One Kuwaiti Dinar equals 1,000 fils. Their currency is available in both coins and notes in different denominations.
  • The period between 1946 and 1982 is known as the “Golden Era” for Kuwait. The country became prosperous during this time, achieving independence in 1961.
  • Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah became the first Emir of the country after its independence. Succession is restricted to descendants of “Mubarak as-Sabah.” “The Great” was the seventh ruler of Kuwait, whose reign lasted from May 18, 1896 until his death on November 28, 1915.
  • Kuwait is the first Gulf country to have established a constitution and parliament.
  • Kuwait has the 15th-tallest sculpted tower in the world – The Al Hamra Tower. Located in Kuwait City, it is also the country’s tallest tower and the 23rd tallest in the world. It took almost six years to complete. It is 414 meters tall with 80 floors.
  • Liberation Tower, which is one of the world’s tallest towers, is the second-tallest structure in the country, measuring 1220 feet. The tower has a revolving restaurant and an observation platform.
  • If a man presents a woman with a gift, it cannot come from him but must come from his wife, mother, sister or another female relative.
  • Kuwait’s economy is mostly petroleum based. Fertilizers and petroleum are their main export products.
  • In August 1990, Kuwait was invaded and forcibly annexed by Iraq.
  • The KIA (Kuwait Investment Authority) is the world’s oldest sovereign wealth fund. Kuwait is also the largest investor from the Arab world. An estimated $8.4 billion was invested by Kuwait in FDI during 2013.
  • Kuwait was a tiny, unnamed Gulf coastal locality prior to 1716, when several clans of the Aniza tribe migrated from the interior of the Arabian Desert. The land was later called Kuwait – a diminutive of the word kut, meaning “fort.” Pirates raided the area from sea and land, which caused decline of the region’s economic condition. The British took over piracy in the region, and thereafter Kuwait saw prosperity in the form of developing trade and shipbuilding opportunities.
  • The oil-rich country exports more than 60% of its oil to Asian countries. Cost of oil production in Kuwait is the lowest in the world due to the fact that the oil lies close to the surface of the earth, making it easy and economical to lift to the top.
  • The majority of the Palestinians (the largest single expatriate group) living in the country were expelled after the Gulf War because they were believed to be sympathetic towards Iraq. Palestinians were then replaced by Syrians, South Asians, Iranians, and Egyptians.
  • Falcons are found in various places throughout Kuwait. Kuwaiti stamps and currencies always contain falcon imagery. The falcon is its national bird, which is why it is so dominant.
  • Kuwait’s national anthem is called Al-Nasheed Al-Watani and the lyrics were written by poet Ahmad Meshari Al-Adwani, first played in 1978.
  • Kuwait is the first country to introduce camel racing in 2006 with robotic jockeys on board the animals.
  • Kuwait is slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey in terms of land area. And the United States of America is 552 times bigger than Kuwait.
  • Kuwait has a total boundary length of 462 kilometers, and a coastline of 499 kilometers.
  • And Kuwait does not have a settled boundary with Iraq.
  • Kuwaiti nationals are largely employed by the public and government sectors, while immigrants comprise 80% of the country’s labor force.
  • The majority of its population resides along the coastal region.
  • There are 141 males for every 100 females in the country.
  • There are more than one million non nationals living in the country, citing better trade and job opportunities. The majority of this population migrated to the coastal region after the discovery of oil. As of 2016, its total population consisted of 69% immigrants.
  • There are no railways in Kuwait.
  • Kuwait is the only GCC country besides Bahrain to have a local Christian population who hold citizenship.
  • In the modern time, the influence of Islam can be clearly seen in the lifestyle and houses of the Kuwaitis.
  • Direct contact between women and strange men is avoided at all times and the homes are also built in such as way that privacy of the inhabitants is preserved at all times.
  • Homes in Kuwait are generally clustered to serve the need for space for the extended family. More rooms are built as the need to accommodate more family members arises.
  • In April 2006, women voted for the first time in Kuwait after the country abandoned its ban on women’s suffrage (the right to vote in political elections.)
  • Kuwait has 10% of all the oil reserves in the world. The sale of oil to other countries is responsible for almost half of Kuwait’s income.
  • Because of difficult climatic conditions in the country, farming is not possible. Instead, Kuwait buys food from other countries and catches fish on its own.
  • Kuwait is also a signing member of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons and substances in the region.
  • Despite the fact that Kuwait had seen difficulties due to war with Iraq; the country has a high standard of living.
  • Kuwait is also one of the founding members of the Organisation of Petrol Exporting Countries (OPEC). This organization was setup to protect the interest of the large countries taking advantage of Kuwait. In the Gulf War, many of the oil refinery facilities in Kuwait were destroyed.
  • Kuwait is devoid of permanent rivers and lakes, which means that it has no fresh-water sources above the ground. It uses wells and performs desalination of seawater for drinking and other purposes. However, Kuwait has plenty of oil, as well as some of the largest and most advanced desalination plants in the world to produce water for its consumption.
  • Only 1% of the total available land area is utilized for growing crops. The government actively supports agriculture and provides loans and other aids to help people to pursue farming in the region.
  • There are no natural forests in Kuwait. However, there are billions of barrels of oil available to the country in its underground reserves.
  • Sadu is a traditional form of Kuwaiti handicraft weaving. Cloth is generally created in the colors of red and black.
  • Kuwait University (opened in 1966) is the country’s only university.
  • 90% of the more-than 150,000 volumes in The National Library of Kuwait are in the Arabic language.
  • Meals are served family-style and generally follow a strict order, with guests being served first, followed by the oldest family member, continuing down to the youngest person.
  • There are no territories or colonies in Kuwait.
  • The Constitution of Kuwait was promulgated in 1962.
  • Kuwait also appears on the list of the world’s top-ten ‘fattest’ countries. They give preference to a rich diet and do not involve in exercising much.
  • Kuwait is one of the most urbanized countries in the world as the majority of the population of the country lives in Kuwait City, which is also the capital of Kuwait. Kuwait’s legal system is largely secular.
  • Kuwaiti men wear a traditional dress called Dishdasha which is white in the summer month and made from wool in dark colors during the winter.
  • The metric system has been adopted as the country’s legal standard of weights and measures.
  • Kuwait also has one of the largest per capita incomes in the world. Qatar and Luxembourg are among the top five nations on the list. See the list here…
  • Surprisingly, Kuwaitis are a minority in their own country. A law passed in 1981 limited the right of citizenship of Kuwait to only Muslims.

Source: www.e.gov.kw