Religion in Kuwait

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Religion in Kuwait by ethnicity (as at 31 June 2018)[1]
Muslim Kuwaiti
Christianity Kuwaiti
Hinduism and Other Kuwaiti

Religion in Kuwait (total residents, June 2018)[1]

  Islam (73.99%)
  Christianity (18.24%)
  Hinduism (7.57%)
  No religion (0.2%)
Mosque in Kuwait City.

Islam is the official religion in Kuwait, and the majority of the citizen population are Muslim.[2][3] There are also small native Christian and Baháʼí Faith populations.[4][5][6] Most expatriates in Kuwait are Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Buddhist.[6]


Grand Masjid of Kuwait

Most Kuwaiti citizens are Muslim; it is estimated that 70%-80% are Sunni and 20%-30% are Shias.[2][3] Some other minor Muslim sects do exist in Kuwait's society, but in very small numbers. There are an estimated 100,000 non-citizen Shias.[6]

Population estimates[edit]

In 2001, there were an estimated 525,000 Sunni Kuwaiti citizens and 300,000 Shia Kuwaiti citizens.[7] In 2002, the US Department of State reported that Shias formed 30%-40% of Kuwait's citizen population,[2] noting there were 525,000 Sunni Kuwaiti citizens and 855,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total (61% Sunnis, 39% Shias).[2] In 2004, there were an estimated 600,000 Sunni Kuwaiti citizens, 300,000-350,000 Shia Kuwaiti citizens and 913,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total.[8] In 2007, around 70% of citizens belonged to the Sunni branch of Islam, while most of remaining 30% were Shias. [6]


Our Lady of Arabia Parish in Al Ahmadi.

Christianity is a minority religion in Kuwait. Kuwait has a native Christian community, with a total population of between 200 and 400.[4][5] In 2014, there were an estimated 259 Christian Kuwaitis residing in Kuwait.[5] Kuwait is the only GCC country besides Bahrain to have a local Christian population who hold citizenship. Of the non-citizen population, there are an estimated 832,475 Christians (June 2018), or 18.24% of the population.[1]

The government-recognized Christian churches include the Roman Catholic Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the National Evangelical Church Kuwait (Protestant), the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek Catholic (Melkite) Church, the Anglican Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are also many Christian religious groups not officially recognised by the government with smaller populations, including the Indian Orthodox, Mar Thoma, and Seventh-day Adventist Church. Unrecognized groups are generally free to worship in private.[6] There are also a number of believers in Christ from a Muslim background in the country, though many are not citizens. A 2015 study estimates that around 350 people in the country follow these beliefs.[9]


There are a small number of Kuwaiti citizens who follow the Baháʼí Faith.[6] While the official 2013 census only shows three religion categories: "Muslim", "Christian" and "Other", with only 18 people in the other category,[5] another source states that there are around 400 Baháʼís in total in Kuwait.[6]


There were some Kuwaiti Jews before the 1950s, however all Jewish families left Kuwait by the 1980s. Recently there was a teenager by the name of Yousef Al-Mahanna who was secretly practicing Judaism and wanted to go to Israel and the Kuwaiti government threatened him that if he goes to Israel that they will remove his kuwaiti citizenship, and an estimated few dozen Jewish foreign resident workers.[6]


There are estimated 300,000 non-citizen Hindus in Kuwait.[citation needed]


Approximately 100,000 non-citizen Buddhists reside in Kuwait.[citation needed]


There are estimated 10,000 non-citizen Sikhs in Kuwait.[6]

Religion by Nationality (2018)[edit]

Religion by Nationality in Kuwait (2018)[1]
Nationality Islam % Christian % Other % Total %
Kuwaiti 1,386,052 99.98% 290 0.02% 22 0.00% 1,386,363 30.38%
Arabian 1,174,894 93.95% 68,498 5.48% 7,048 0.57% 1,250,438 27.40%
Asian 807,009 43.84% 720,463 39.14% 313,385 17.02% 1,840,857 40.33%
African 14,637 37.50% 24,448 54.89% 5,458 12.25% 44,543 0.98%
European 6,650 37.50% 10,003 56.41% 1,081 6.09% 17,734 0.39%
American & Australian 13,915 57.90% 8,773 36.50% 1,346 5.60% 24,034 0.52%
Kuwait 3,403,157 74.56% 832,475 18.24% 328,337 7.20% 4,563,969 100%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "PACI Statistics". Kuwait Public Authority for Civil Information. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 2002.
  3. ^ a b "The Evolution of U. S.-Turkish Relations in a Transatlantic Context" (PDF). Strategic Studies Institute. p. 87. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 18, 2015. Shiites comprise 60 percent of the population in Bahrain, 40 percent in Kuwait, 14 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 35 percent in Lebanon.
  4. ^ a b "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 1999.
  5. ^ a b c d "Nationality By Religion and Nationality". Government of Kuwait (in Arabic).
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "International Religious Freedom Report for 2007". US State Department. 2007.
  7. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 2001.
  8. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 2004.
  9. ^ Johnstone, Patrick; Miller, Duane (2015). "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census". Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 11: 16. Retrieved 28 October 2015.