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Kuwaiti Youth

Youth of Kuwait
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According to UNDP figures, 23.8 percent of the Kuwaiti population in 2005 was younger than 15, far above the global average of 18 percent for under-15s in high-income countries but significantly lower than the global under-15 population of 28.4 percent. Other public sources mention a percentage of 26.4 percent for 2009, and 26.7 in 2010 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs). But all these sources fail to differentiate between the citizen and the temporary immigrant population. Because the detailed results of the 2005 census have not yet been released by the Kuwaiti authorities, we have to rely on estimates by independent statistical specialists from the region. According to one of these, Nadeya Sayed Ali Mohammed, roughly 42 percent of the citizen population in Kuwait in 2005 was under 15 years of age. This figure may appear extremely high, especially for a highly developed country like Kuwait, but the number of children aged 0-14 as a percentage of the citizen population has actually declined from about 54 percent in 1990 and will continue to decline to an estimated 30-34 percent in 2025.

While citizen fertility rates and the proportion of under-15 youth in the total citizen population continue to decline, the yearly addition of university-graduated youth to the national workforce will continue to grow substantially in the foreseeable future, with an expected yearly net addition of 6.3 percent by 2015. Add to this an expected higher female participation rate in the workforce, a dependency on civil-service jobs by citizen workers of almost 90 percent, and a civil service that is meant to shrink in the coming years instead of expanding even further, and the huge challenges facing the government are clear. It will be increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for the government to continue to guarantee every citizen youth entering the job market a comfortable position in the civil service. This means that at least some young Kuwaitis will, in the near future, be forced to accept non-civil-service jobs, or even non-white-collar jobs. Therefore, in order to minimize social tensions, a fundamental change in work ethic among the new generation is needed.

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