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

An international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of a major Gulf think tank and a globally renowned academic migration centre.
The programme provides data, analyses, and recommendations contributing to the improvement of understanding and management of
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Employed population by nationality (Kuwaiti/ non-Kuwaiti), sex and educational status (2012)

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  Kuwaitis Non-Kuwaitis Total
males females total males females total males females total
Illiterate 457 1.230 1.687 69.719 24.255 93.974 70.176 25.485 95.661
Reads and writes 959 621 1.580 487.088 193.546 680.634 488.047 194.167 682.214
Elementary 24.820 9.665 34.485 73.365 16.767 90.132 98.185 26.432 124.617
Intermediate 63.215 31.426 94.641 329.838 107.226 437.064 393.053 138.652 531.705
High school diploma 59.043 44.204 103.247 153.989 42.112 196.101 213.032 86.316 299.348
Diploma 25.432 34.225 59.657 37.142 12.124 49.266 62.574 46.349 108.923
University degree 27.229 50.870 78.099 71.778 25.359 97.137 99.007 76.229 175.236
Postgraduate 2.298 984 3.282 3.829 948 4.777 6.127 1.932 8.059
NA 5.071 5.335 10.406 183.974 31.132 215.106 189.045 36.467 225.512
Total 208.524 178.560 387.084 1.410.722 453.469 1.864.191 1.619.246 632.029 2.251.275

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.


Note: figures of expatriates differ slightly between PACI’s various sources of data (database; tabulated data).


3. Period of data coverage: December 31st, 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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