Estimated 2.7 million (2013 estimate)
Arabic (official), English is widely spoken.
Muslim estimated 85%, with sizable Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist communities.
  • Became independent from Great Britain in 1961
  • Kuwait has the world’s fifth largest oil reserves and is the eleventh richest country in the world per capita.

Conflict and Crisis History

In 1990, Iraq attacked and invaded Kuwait claiming that prior to its independence, Kuwait was part of the Ottoman Empire subject to Iraqi possession.   The seven month-long Iraqi occupation came to an end after direct military intervention by the U.S. and the United Nations.  In 1994 Iraq accepted a United Nations-demarcated boarder with Kuwait.

Kuwait’s infrastructure was badly damaged during the war.  Twelve years later, the country saw another massive foreign military presence as it served as a springboard for the U.S.-led campaign in 2003 to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.  Kuwait remains an important partner for the U.S. in their counterterrorism efforts.

Refugee History

  • Kuwait does not recognize refugees
  • Since 1991, Kuwait has been hostile and suspicious toward certain groups considered sympathetic to Iraq during the war – particularly Palestinians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and the remaining stateless Arabs, known as Bedoun, still in Kuwait.
  • Kuwait reserves full citizenship rights for those who established residence in the country prior to 1920.  Children born to Kuwaiti women are not generally accorded citizenship if their fathers are Bedoun or foreigners. Since 1991, Kuwait has reduced the number of its Bedoun residents by more than half, down from a pre-war population of 250,000 to an estimated 120,000 in 2000.