Saudi Arabia



What is the population of your country?

25,731,776 (5)

What percentage of the country is under 14, between 15 and 64, and over 65?

0-14 years: 38%

15-64 years: 59.5%

65 years and over: 2.5%  (5)

What is the ethnic make up of your country?

Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10% (5)

What is the religious make up of your country?

Muslim 100% (5)

What is the literacy rate?

total population: 78.8%

male: 84.7%

female: 70.8% (2003 est.) (5)

What is the maternal mortality rate?

23 deaths/100,000 (7)

What is the infant mortality rate?

16.73 deaths/1,000 live births (5)

What is the life expectancy for men and women?

male: 71.93 years

female: 75.9 years (5)

Approximately how many years do boys go to school?  How many years do girls attend school?

male: 14 years

female: 13 years (5)

What is the status of women in your country?

Women are declared legally inferior to men. They are considered unable of taking care of their own affairs, and require male permission before traveling, leaving home or even before receiving emergency medical treatment. Also forbidden to drive, vote, take part in sports and are not allowed to go to school for “male specific fields” (8).

Does your country have a drug problem?

Not at an alarming rate as traffickers are sentenced to death, but drug abuse of heroin and cocaine and cannabis is rising within the country (3).

Does your country have problems with AIDS/HIV or any other major infectious disease?

No, prevalence = 0.01% (5)

What is the relationship between religion and the public sector in your country?

Islam is the official religion of the country, thus Islam and Shari’a law play a major role in government and laws passed (6).

Does your country have a refugee problem?

Yes, refugees: 240,015 (2)

Does your country have freedom of religion, press, speech?

All the media within the country is state-run and state-controlled; but they do have free access to the internet. No law requires that a citizen be Muslim in order to reside in Saudi Arabia, but it is said that practice of other religions is severely restricted (5).

Does your country have any issues with trafficking in persons?

There is a problem of trafficking in persons. Saudi Arabia is said to be a country where involuntary servitude is imposed upon immigrant workers. The abuse includes physical and sexual abuse, as well as forced slavery and constriction of leaving the house or the country. Some Nigerian women have been trafficked into Saudi Arabia for the sex trade (5).

What are three current social/cultural issues in your country?

  • Trafficking of persons into Saudi Arabia for involuntary servitude and sexual exploitation is a huge social issue that is not being addressed by the government (5).
  • Women seeking employment has been receiving a huge backlash from Islamic Scholars; a fatwa has been issued banning women cashiers (1). In addition to the issue of female workers, Saudi Arabian are starting to ask that men not work in lingerie shops as it is embarrassing to the customers (2).
  • LGBT rights are ignored in Saudi Arabia, and as Saudi Arabia follows Shari’a law, same sex relations are illegal and if the perpatrator is convicted, they face the death penalty. However, men who ‘act like women’ are lashed and sentenced to prison. (4)




1. Al-Mukhtar, Rima. "Saudis shocked by fatwa banning women cashiers." Arab News 01        Nov. 2010, Non-Print.


2. Al-Mukhtar, Rima. "‘Manned’ lingerie shops draw ire." Arab News 01 Nov. 2010,   Non-Print.


3. "Country Profiles: Saudi Arabia." United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.       UNODC, 05 Nov. 2010. Web. 5 Nov 2010.         <>.


4. Keihani, Keyan. "A brief history of male homosexuality in Islamic culture." N.p., 11 Dec. 2005. Web. 8 Nov 2010. <>.


5. "Middle East: Saudi Arabia." CIA - The World Factbook. CIA, 03 Nov. 2010. Web. 5       Nov 2010. <     factbook/geos/sa.html>.


6. "Saudi Arabia." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 10 Oct. 2009. Web. 5 Nov 2010. <>.


7. "Saudi Arabia: Mortality Country Profile." WHO|World Health Organization.          WHO|World Health Organization, 2007. Web. 5 Nov 2010.         <>.


8. "Saudi Arabia: The 'No Women. No Play' campaign on status of women in Kingdom." Women Living Under Muslim Laws. Women Living Under Muslim Laws, 27 Jul. 2010. Web. 5 Nov 2010.