Definition of Youth

As described in the Huffington Post, the age range used to define youth for The National Youth Project (TNYP) in 2012 was 18-30 years. TNYP was a national youth consultation to develop strategic and developmental goals for youth.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 17
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 15
  • --
  • --

  • No data for marriage with parental consent. Male homosexual acts illegal. Female homosexual acts legal. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


Civil Law No. 67 (1980) sets the age of majority at 21, which is inconsistent with other laws that define minors as up to 18 years. Source: Human Line Organization (2013)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.47% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.56% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 85.53%Male %
  • 87.88% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 25.00% Male (13-15) %
  • 11.30% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Kuwait is developing a youth policy. A youth project concluded in 2013 with youth recommendations.

Kuwait held The National Youth Project (TNYP) in 2012, a national consultation project where young Kuwaitis were asked to submit policy recommendations concerning youth, as described in the Huffington Post. The result was a National Youth Document, as described on the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs website, that includes recommendations in areas such as citizenship, education, economic development, housing, and health. This document was presented to the Emir and the Council of Ministers for consideration, as reported by the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).   KUNA also reported that in March 2014, the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs held a youth forum to discuss the implementation of some of the recommendations, however it is unclear what steps remain for the formation of a youth policy.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of State for Youth Affairs is the main governmental body responsible for youth in Kuwait. As reported by the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the ministry was formed out of The National Youth Project (TNYP) youth consultation held in 2012. Its role is to create mechanisms to engage Kuwaiti youth, and to create partnerships between government, civil society and private sector for the benefit of youth development. Recent initiatives include projects to promote volunteerism, entrepreneurship, and to combat communal violence.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Kuwait Youth Council was created in 2012 to aid with the implementation of The National Youth Project (TNYP), a nation-wide youth consultation, as described by the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). Huffington Post reports that the council is mandated by the Emir, and made up of representatives from public service organisations, student federations and youth volunteer groups, who were asked to nominate three persons each. With the completion of the TNYP, it is unclear what role the youth council will play in influencing policy-making.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No budgetary information regarding youth spending in Kuwait could be found online. According to the World Bank, Kuwait spent 13.37% of its government expenditure and 3.76% of its GDP on education provision in 2006.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

From Al Montior: Kuwait’s Youth Movement Back Amid Growing Political Divisions (2012, August 29):  
Parliament is suspended. There is a deadlock between the government and the opposition. Sectarian and factional debates prevail in the street and media. All of this comes on the 22nd anniversary of the Iraqi invasion (August 2, 1990), after which “a new and better Kuwait was created,” as some Kuwaitis say.
Development in Kuwait has never been worse than it is today, at least as some in the opposition see it. Although the price of a Kuwaiti oil barrel has reached almost $110 and the 2011 budget surplus has exceeded $16 billion, there are continuous complaints about the deterioration of public services. This deterioration was evidenced by power cuts in some suburbs of the capital during Ramadan during a summer where temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius [122 Fahrenheit].
Regarding problems with infrastructure, the foundations for a hospital and a sports stadium — both to be named after former Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad — were been built more than 7 years ago. However, both have yet to be officially inaugurated, as is the case with many other projects. Moreover, 97,000 families are awaiting housing services in a country whose population is less than 1.2 million. Kuwaitis lament the fact that news of mechanical issues affecting Kuwait Airways, a pioneering institution in the Gulf and the region, today top the local news.
The opposition argues that corruption and government mismanagement are two main reasons for the country’s decline. The authorities and state media say that the abuse of democracy and freedoms by opposition leaders and parties has plunged Kuwait into continuous crises, which distract successive governments from making achievements. [...]
While Kuwait is once again witnessing demonstrations and protests, observers have noticed an increase in demands for substantial political change by Kuwaiti youth movements affected by the atmosphere of the “Arab Spring.” The loud tone of this movement can be seen on websites such as Twitter and others, which have become a major tool for the circulation of news and sharp political criticism. Today, it has become common for the public prosecutor and security agencies to arrest “tweeters” in cases where they have “targeted” high-ranking political figures.
From The Human Line Organization’s parallel report to the State of Kuwait’s second periodic report presented to the Committee on the Rights of the Child(2013):  
• There’s no provision in Kuwaiti law that requires law enforcements to inform the juvenile at his arrest of the charges pressed against him, he is only informed of the charges during interrogation. Also, the law doesn’t entail that a juvenile obtains legal assistance immediate to his arrest, however, the law does entail that every person accused of a felony must be provided with legal assistance during interrogation and trial. Although the right to hire a lawyer at interrogation is preserved, yet the interrogator has the authority to prohibit the lawyer from talking during the interrogation process. Also, there is no legal provision that obliges law enforcements to provide a certified translator for juveniles that don’t speak Arabic during custody and interrogation. Therefore, law enforcement resort to non-professional translators which could lead to errors in translation which is not in the child’s best interest.
• A legal body has been established to deal with juvenile case, consisting of: juvenile prosecution, juvenile court, police department of juvenile protection and department of verdict executions.
• Juveniles detained at social welfare homes are split into four categories: social observation homes for one boys and another for girls, which is used to detain children between the ages of 15 and 18 under suspension and remanded. The second is correctional homes one for boys and another for girls, which is a social, governmental institution under the department of juvenile care, part of the ministry of labor and social affairs, this institution is used to detain juvenile delinquents to serve sentences according to the ruling of juvenile court. Third is a social care home to detain juvenile delinquents from the age of seven and under the age of 18, which the juvenile courts orders their detention until they show behavioral improvement. Forth is a social hosting home, which receives girls subject to possible perversity, forwarded from juvenile police, ministry of education, child’s guardian, juvenile detention centers or by request of the child himself.
• Total number of juvenile cases forwarded to the department of juvenile care in the year 2011 is 1316 case, 1244 male and 72 female.
• According to personnel of institutions related to juvenile care, improvements to conditions in social care homes have been made in the past three years, beating and solitary detention is no longer practiced. It was also common that juveniles sexually assault younger, weaker detainees due to lack of supervision at night, the small number of supervisors and their poor training, and due to the fact that juveniles sleep in crowded rooms that doesn’t necessarily take into consideration the age range of detained children (7-17 years old). However, there’s a belief that the installment of security cameras, and the reduction in numbers of children sharing a room to three has reduced these cases. But nonetheless the allocation of an individual room for each child shall have a greater impact in protecting them for sexual assault. Information regarding the conditions of detainment in observation homes and correctional homes were un-attainable.