Saudi Arabia

WorldABC.xyz: facts on every entity in the world

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. King SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz ascended to the throne in 2015 and placed the first next-generation prince, MUHAMMAD BIN NAYIF bin Abd al-Aziz, in the line of succession as Crown Prince. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism.

King ABDALLAH from 2005 to 2015 incrementally modernized the Kingdom - driven by personal ideology and political pragmatism - through a series of social and economic initiatives, including expanding employment and social opportunities for women, attracting foreign investment, increasing the role of the private sector in the economy, and discouraging businesses from hiring foreign workers. The Arab Spring inspired protests - increasing in number since 2011 but usually small in size - over primarily domestic issues among Saudi Arabia's majority Sunni population. Riyadh has taken a cautious but firm approach by arresting some protesters but releasing most of them quickly, and by using its state-sponsored clerics to counter political and Islamist activism. In addition, Saudi Arabia has seen protests among Shias in the Eastern Province, who have protested primarily against the detention of political prisoners, endemic discrimination, and Bahraini and Saudi Government actions in Bahrain. Protests are met by a strong police presence, with some arrests, but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region.

In response to the unrest, King ABDALLAH in February and March 2011 announced a series of benefits for Saudi citizens including funds to build affordable housing, salary increases for government workers, and unemployment entitlements. To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide in September 2011 for half the members of 285 municipal councils - a body that holds little influence in the Saudi Government. Also in September 2011, King ABDALLAH announced that women will be allowed to run for and vote in future municipal elections - first held in 2005 - and serve as full members of the advisory Consultative Council. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds about 16% of the world's proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the kingdom. A burgeoning population, aquifer depletion, and an economy largely dependent on petroleum output and prices are ongoing governmental concerns.

Geography

Location

Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen

Geographic coordinates

25.00° N, 45.00° E

Area 13/257

total: 2,149,690 sq km

land: 2,149,690 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US

Land boundaries

total: 4,272 km

border countries (7): Iraq 811 km, Jordan 731 km, Kuwait 221 km, Oman 658 km, Qatar 87 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,307 km

Coastline

2,640 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 18 nm

continental shelf: not specified

Climate

harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes

Terrain

mostly sandy desert

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m

highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper

Land use

agricultural land: 80.7%

arable land 1.5%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 79.1%

forest: 0.5%

other: 18.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

16,200 sq km (2004)

Total renewable water resources

2.4 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 23.67 cu km/yr (9%/3%/88%)

per capita: 928.1 cu m/yr (2006)

Natural hazards

frequent sand and dust storms

volcanism: despite many volcanic formations, there has been little activity in the past few centuries; volcanoes include Harrat Rahat, Harrat Khaybar, Harrat Lunayyir, and Jabal Yar

Environment - current issues

desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Saudi(s)

adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian

Ethnic groups

Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%

Languages

Arabic (official)

Religions

Muslim (official; citizens are 85-90% Sunni and 10-15% Shia), other (includes Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh) (2012 est.)

note: despite having a large expatriate community of various faiths (more than 30% of the population), most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with the government-sanctioned interpretation of Sunni Islam are restricted; non-Muslims are not allowed to have Saudi citizenship and non-Muslim places of worship are not permitted (2013)

Population 47/238

27,752,316

note: immigrants make up more than 30% of the total population, according to UN data (2013) (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 27.07% (male 3,850,992/female 3,661,194)

15-24 years: 19.11% (male 2,839,161/female 2,463,216)

25-54 years: 45.9% (male 7,244,386/female 5,495,284)

55-64 years: 4.68% (male 710,827/female 587,281)

65 years and over: 3.24% (male 460,209/female 439,766) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.9%

youth dependency ratio: 41.7%

elderly dependency ratio: 4.2%

potential support ratio: 24% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 26.8 years

male: 27.6 years

female: 25.8 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 81/233

1.46% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 94/224

18.51 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 219/225

3.33 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 137/222

-0.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 83.1% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

RIYADH (capital) 6.195 million; Jeddah 4.076 million; Mecca 1.771 million; Medina 1.28 million; Ad Dammam 1.064 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.15 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.32 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.21 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female

total population: 1.19 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 133/184

12 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 108/224

total: 14.09 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 16.16 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 108/224

total population: 75.05 years

male: 73 years

female: 77.2 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 105/224

2.12 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

23.8% (2007)

Health expenditures 178/191

3.2% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

2.49 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 97% of population

rural: 97% of population

total: 97% of population

unimproved: urban: 3% of population

rural: 3% of population

total: 3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 19/191

33.7% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 88/138

5.3% (2005)

Education expenditures 68/173

5.1% of GDP (2008)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 29/134

total: 29.5%

male: 21.1%

female: 55.3% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

conventional short form: Saudi Arabia

local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah

local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah

Government type

monarchy

Capital

name: Riyadh

geographic coordinates: 24.39° N, 46.42° E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah (Medina), Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jazan, Makkah (Mecca), Najran, Tabuk

Independence

23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)

National holiday

Unification of the Kingdom, 23 September (1932)

Constitution

1 March 1992 - Basic Law of Government, issued by royal decree, serves as the constitutional framework and is based on the Qur'an and the life and tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (2015)

Legal system

Islamic (sharia) legal system with some elements of Egyptian, French, and customary law; note - several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Saudi Arabia; a child born out of wedlock in Saudi Arabia to a Saudi mother and unknown father

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

21 years of age; male; male and female for municipal elections

Executive branch

chief of state: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN NAYIF bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 30 August 1959); Crown Prince and Second Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN NAYIF bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 30 August 1959); Crown Prince and Second Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch every 4 years and includes many royal family members

elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary; note - an Allegiance Commission created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes to a role in selecting future Saudi kings

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve 4-year terms); note - in early 2013, the monarch granted women 30 seats on the Council

Judicial branch

highest court(s): High Court (consists of the court chief and organized into circuits with 3-judge panels except the criminal circuit which has a 5-judge panel for cases involving major punishments)

judge selection and term of office: the High Court chief and chiefs of the High Court Circuits appointed by royal decree following the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 10-member body of high level judges and other judicial heads; new judges and assistant judges serve 1- and 2- year probations, respectively, before permanent assignment

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; first-degree courts composed of general, criminal, personal status, and commercial courts, and the Labor Court; hierarchy of administrative courts

note: in 2005, former King Abdullah issued decrees approving an overhaul of the judicial system and which were incorporated in the Judiciary Law of 2007; changes include the establishment of a High Court and special commercial, labor, and administrative courts

Political parties and leaders

none

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: gas companies; religious groups

International organization participation

ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, CAEU, CP, FAO, G-20, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

green, a traditional color in Islamic flags, with the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script (translated as "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God") above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); design dates to the early twentieth century and is closely associated with the Al Saud family which established the kingdom in 1932; the flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides so that the Shahada reads - and the sword points - correctly from right to left on both sides

note: the only national flag to display an inscription as its principal design; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Paraguay

National symbol(s)

palm tree surmounting two crossed swords; national colors: green, white

National anthem

name: "Aash Al Maleek" (Long Live Our Beloved King)

lyrics/music: Ibrahim KHAFAJI/Abdul Rahman al-KHATEEB

note: music adopted 1947, lyrics adopted 1984

Economy

Economy - overview

Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 16% of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 80% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings.

Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Diversification efforts are focusing on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. Over 6 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors, while Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population, which generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs.

In 2015 the Kingdom incurred a budget deficit estimated at 20% of GDP, and it faces deficits for the foreseeable future because it requires an oil price greater than $100 per barrel to balance its budget. Although the Kingdom can finance high deficits for several years by drawing down its considerable foreign assets or by borrowing, it has announced plans to cut capital spending in 2016.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 15/230

$1.681 trillion (2015 est.)

$1.625 trillion (2014 est.)

$1.571 trillion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$665.5 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 85/225

3.4% (2015 est.)

3.5% (2014 est.)

2.7% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 21/230

$54,600 (2015 est.)

$52,800 (2014 est.)

$51,100 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 43/179

26.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

38.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

44.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 38.3%

government consumption: 31%

investment in fixed capital: 29.3%

investment in inventories: 4%

exports of goods and services: 35%

imports of goods and services: -37.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.3%

industry: 46.9%

services: 50.8% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk

Industries

crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction

Industrial production growth rate 91/202

2.8% (2015 est.)

Labor force 49/233

11.67 million

note: about 80% of the labor force is non-national (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 6.7%

industry: 21.4%

services: 71.9% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate 129/207

11.4% (2015 est.)

11.6% (2014 est.)

note: data are for Saudi males only (local bank estimates; some estimates are as high as 25%)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $193 billion

expenditures: $318 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 90/219

29% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 216/220

-18.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 170/176

7.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

9.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 122/226

2.3% (2015 est.)

2.7% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 109/156

2.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 124/184

6.7% (31 December 2015 est.)

6.8% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 16/192

$341.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$304.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 23/193

$513.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$461.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 82/191

$24 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$-38.16 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 26/121

$373.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$338.9 billion (31 December 2011)

$353.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 188/197

-$22.38 billion (2015 est.)

$76.92 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 22/224

$222.6 billion (2015 est.)

$342.3 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum and petroleum products 90% (2012 est.)

Exports - partners

China 13.3%, Japan 13%, US 12.9%, South Korea 10%, India 8.9%, Singapore 4% (2014)

Imports 28/223

$160 billion (2015 est.)

$158.5 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles

Imports - partners

China 13.3%, US 12.1%, India 8.3%, Germany 6.5%, South Korea 5.4%, Japan 4.9% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 4/170

$660.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$732.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 39/206

$166.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$155.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 26/120

$250.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$242.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 49/105

$37.32 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$32.46 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -

3.75 (2015 est.)

3.75 (2014 est.)

3.75 (2013 est.)

3.75 (2012 est.)

3.75 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 16/220

255.4 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 16/219

231.6 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 189/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 195/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 21/214

53.62 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 37/214

99.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 174/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 196/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 119/212

0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 2/214

9.735 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 1/214

7.658 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 119/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 2/215

268.3 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 10/214

1.971 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 7/212

2.961 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 6/214

1.524 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 20/213

338,800 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 9/216

102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 8/215

102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 172/215

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 127/214

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 5/212

8.235 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 10/212

582.7 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 42/219

total subscriptions: 3.92 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 29/217

total: 52.7 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 193 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern system including a combination of extensive microwave radio relays, coaxial cables, and fiber-optic cables

domestic: mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly

international: country code - 966; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks providing connectivity to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region) (2011)

Broadcast media

broadcast media are state-controlled; state-run TV operates 4 networks; Saudi Arabia is a major market for pan-Arab satellite TV broadcasters; state-run radio operates several networks; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 43, FM 31, shortwave 2 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

117 (1997)

Internet country code

.sa

Internet hosts 79/232

145,941 (2012)

Internet users 35/217

total: 16.2 million

percent of population: 59.2% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 26/236

214 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 82

over 3,047 m: 33

2,438 to 3,047 m: 16

1,524 to 2,437 m: 27

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 4 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 132

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 72

914 to 1,523 m: 37

under 914 m: 16 (2013)

Heliports

10 (2013)

Pipelines

condensate 209 km; gas 2,940 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 5,117 km; refined products 1,151 km (2013)

Railways 81/136

total: 1,378 km

standard gauge: 1,378 km 1.435-m gauge (with branch lines and sidings) (2014)

Roadways 22/223

total: 221,372 km

paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways)

unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)

Merchant marine 61/156

total: 72

by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 25, container 4, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 7

foreign-owned: 15 (Egypt 1, Greece 4, Kuwait 4, UAE 6)

registered in other countries: 55 (Bahamas 16, Dominica 2, Liberia 20, Malta 2, Norway 3, Panama 11, Tanzania 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, Yanbu al Bahr

container port(s) (TEUs): Ad Dammam (1,492,315), Jeddah (4,010,448)

Military and Security

Military branches

Ministry of Defense: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes Marine Forces and Special Forces), Royal Saudi Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya as-Sa'udiya), Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Rocket Forces, Ministry of the National Guard (SANG) (2015)

Military service age and obligation

17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Military expenditures 4/132

12.6% of GDP (2015 planned)

10.7% of GDP (2014 planned)

9.4% of GDP (2013)

7.98% of GDP (2012)

7.25% of GDP (2011)

7.98% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue discussions on a maritime boundary with Iran; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 30,000 (Yemen) (2016)

stateless persons: 70,000 (2014); note - thousands of biduns (stateless Arabs) are descendants of nomadic tribes who were not officially registered when national borders were established, while others migrated to Saudi Arabia in search of jobs; some have temporary identification cards that must be renewed every five years, but their rights remain restricted; most Palestinians have only legal resident status; some naturalized Yemenis were made stateless after being stripped of their passports when Yemen backed Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Saudi women cannot pass their citizenship on to their children, so if they marry a non-national, their children risk statelessness

Illicit drugs

regularly enforces the death penalty for drug traffickers, with foreigners being convicted and executed disproportionately; improving anti-money-laundering legislation and enforcement