KUWAIT: There is a current generational shift in priorities regarding family formation, attributed to a complex interplay of social, economic and personal factors. The annual growth of Kuwaiti population has seen a decline, from 3.3 percent in 2011 to approximately 2 percent in 2020, further dropping to 1.8 percent in 2021, as per data from the Public Authority for Civil Information. Furthermore, a 2022 report from the National Bank of Kuwait indicates a 4.8 percent increase in the population of Kuwaiti citizens aged 64 and above.

This decline foreshadows a future imbalance in the population composition and underscores the growing concern of an ageing population. It has been observed that the percentage of young people in Kuwaiti society is dwindling due to low fertility rates, reduced interest in marriage and a surge in divorce cases within the early years of matrimony. Kuwait Times interviewed young individuals to gain insight into this phenomenon. Nasser Al-Ahmad, 28, emphasized that a key reason for males postponing marriage is their pursuit of personal ambitions. Given the current pressures to realize their dreams, marriage is not a priority at a young age.

He noted that the primary reason often relates to the delay in achieving the financial stability necessary to start a family, with a strong emphasis on career development and personal growth. Zainb Al-Qallaf, 25, highlighted that the issue is not necessarily a deliberate choice to remain unmarried, but rather the challenge of finding a suitable partner for marriage. “I think in the past, our parents got married without necessarily knowing if the person was right for marriage or not.

However, with the influence of today’s social media, we are more attuned to red and green flags and the mental compatibility of a potential spouse,” she noted. She added that today’s generation prioritizes personal interests and lifestyle choices over starting a family, emphasizing the importance of quality relationships and stable partnerships before considering parenthood. Meanwhile, Sociology Professor Abdulaziz Al-Jairan pointed out that changing societal norms have liberated individuals from conventional expectations of marriage and parenthood, opening up a wider range of life choices.

He explained that young people are increasingly interested in exploring various options, whether pursuing hobbies, achieving personal goals or leading a stress-free life without the responsibilities of raising children. “Improved access to reliable contraception has also empowered individuals to have more control over the timing of starting a family.

These shifts reflect broader changes in societal values, with more people opting for alternative lifestyles, collectively reshaping the landscape of family priorities in today’s generation,” he added. According to a report by the Arabian Gulf Center for Studies and Research, forming a family is no longer a top priority for the current generation.

For decades, Kuwait’s population has been characterized as a youthful society, with the youth demographic dominating. However, this equation is now shifting unfavorably. The age group from 1 to 14 years has seen a decline in Kuwaiti demographics, decreasing from approximately 23 percent in 2011 to around 21 percent in 2021. Conversely, the age group of 65 years and above has increased from 2 percent in 2011 to about 4 percent by the end of 2021.

Source : Kuwait Times

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