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Expats still make up two thirds of population as some communities grow
India continues to have the largest expatriate community in Kuwait

KUWAIT: Some of the largest expat communities in Kuwait witnessed a surge in population last year, showing a recovery to near pre-COVID numbers as non-Kuwaiti residents continue to make up two thirds of the total population.

Kuwaitis’ make up 31.7 percent of Kuwait’s total population, while non-Kuwaiti residents make up 68.3 percent of the population; an average of 1 to 3, according to statistics released by the Public Authority for Civil Information as of the end of 2023. The Kuwaiti population saw a 1.9 percent increase in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching 1.53 million, while the non-Kuwaiti population saw a 11 percent increase, reaching around 3.29 million.

Indians on top

India continues to have the largest expatriate community in Kuwait, making up 21 percent of the population. Notably, the number of the Indian community has surged to 1,000,726 by the end of 2023, reaching the highest level since 2019 when it stood at 1,058,862.

Egypt follows India with the second highest expatriate community in Kuwait (third largest overall), making up 13 percent of the population. The number of the Egyptian community dropped slightly from 655,234 in 2022 to 644,442 in 2023; still far from the record 696,082 figure registered in 2019.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s community increased from 256,849 in 2022 to 274,794 in 2023, making up 6 percent of the total population. The Philippines follows Bangladesh with the fifth largest community in Kuwait, making up 5 percent of the total population. However, their numbers have dropped to 267,259 in 2023 compared to 274,777 in 2022, following the ban on Filipino labor issued last year. Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria (3 percent each), Nepal and Pakistan (2 percent each) round up the top 10 communities in Kuwait.

Labor force

A significant portion of the rise in the non-Kuwaiti workforce in Kuwait is attributed to the increase in domestic workers, which saw a 16 percent annual increase to approximately 811,000 workers, constituting around 25 percent of the total expatriate population compared to 22 percent at the end of 2019.

According to the Public Authority for Civil Information statistics, the total labor force made up 61 percent of Kuwait’s total population by the end of 2023, while the percentage of expatriate workers compared to the total expatriate population reached 75 percent. Indians make up 30 percent of total workers, followed by Kuwaitis and Egyptians (16 percent each), then Bangladeshis and Filipinos (9 percent each). Among expatriate workers, Indians make up the largest percentage (35 percent), followed by Egyptians (19 percent), Bangladeshis (11 percent), Filipinos (10 percent) and Sri Lankans (6 percent).

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