Gulf Labour Markets, Migration, and Population (GLMM) Programme

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Unemployed population by nationality (Kuwaiti/ non-Kuwaiti), sex and education level (2012)

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    Kuwaitis     Non-Kuwaitis     TOTAL  
  males females Total males females Total males females Total
Illiterate 225 154 379 549 589 1.138 774 743 1.517
Reads and writes 104 62 166 2.775 6.043 8.818 2.879 6.105 8.984
Elementary 608 352 960 1.495 896 2.391 2.103 1.248 3.351
Intermediate 1.002 661 1.663 5.683 2.597 8.280 6.685 3.258 9.943
High school diploma 1.050 1.198 2.248 4.100 2.329 6.429 5.150 3.527 8.677
Diploma 420 1.339 1.759 517 834 1.351 937 2.173 3.110
University degree 369 1.057 1.426 652 776 1.428 1.021 1.833 2.854
Postgraduate 13 1 14 16 23 39 29 24 53
Not stated 1.728 1.918 3.646 1.181 1.664 2.845 2.909 3.582 6.491
TOTAL 5.519 6.742 12.261 16.968 15.751 32.719 22.487 22.493 44.980

Source: PACI





1. Characteristics of data and definitions


The source of data used here is the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), an independant government body in charge of :

1- centralising all population and labour force data in order to manage a fully computerised population register

2- issuing mandatory civil identification cards to every resident of the country, regardless of age and nationality.


The other source of demographic and socioeconomic data on Kuwait is the Central Statistical Office (CSO), operating within the Planning Ministry. The CSO has conducted ten population and housing censuses since its inception in 1957.

Since 1995 a marked discrepancy was witnessed between PACI’ and CSO’ population figures. PACI’ database is connected electronically with other administrations and bodies registering demographic events and professional/ residency issues (births and death; departures and arrivals; end of service, residency and ID deliveries, etc.).

PACI’s records of residents’ movements is thus regularly updated, which limits the risk of population overcount. Therefore, it is more likely that residents were undercounted during CSO- Ministry of Planning’s census operations (see: Shah, N. Population of Kuwait. Structure and Dynamics, Kuwait: Kuwait University Academic Publication Council, 2010, chapter 1).


(a) Kuwaiti: the Kuwaiti nationality rests upon a document of Kuwaiti nationality or a certificate proving Kuwaiti nationality issued by the Ministry of Interior of Kuwait.


(b) Non-Kuwaiti: his/ her nationality is determined by the name of the State having issued the passport. The foreign national also entered Kuwait legally and has a stamp of residence.

This category includes the Bidoon, a category of stateless persons living in the Emirate. Kuwait’s Bidoon population originates from three broad categories:

1) those whose ancestors failed to apply for nationality or lacked necessary documentation at the time of Kuwait’s independence in 1961;

2) those recruited to work in Kuwait’s army or police force during the 1960s who permanently settled in Kuwait, along with their families;

3) children of Kuwaiti mothers and stateless or foreign fathers (see Human Rights Watch. Prisoners of the Past. Kuwaiti Bidun and the Burden of Statelessness, June 2011, p. 3).


(c) Population in the labour force: population aged 15 years and above, included in the labour market, either employed (in the government or private sector, as itinerant worker, employed in the domestic sector), or unemployed.


(d) Population out of the labour force: population aged 15 years and above, not contributing to any economic activity and not included in the labour market, among which the students, the housewives, the retired persons or self-sufficients.

(e) Unemployed population: population aged 15 years and over, able to work, looking for employment and unable to find one.



2. Institution which provides data


The Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI)


3. Period of data coverage: December 2012


The database is updated three times a year and the website presents only the most recent data.


4. Data availability


The statistics section of PACI’s website ( (English); (Arabic)) provides population and socio-economic data broken down by nationality (Kuwaiti/ non-Kuwaiti). Some data are displayed by nationality groups.

Analytical tables and data crosstabulations are available for download in PDF, html, .png and Excel (.csv) formats.


Date of access: June 2013.


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