Author(s): United States Department of
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Abstract PIP: In 1985, Saudi Arabia's population stood at 9.6 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.8\%. The infant mortality rate was 78/1000 and life expectancy was 60 years. Literacy was at the 50\% level among men and 25\% among women. Of the work force of 3 million, 66\% are foreign workers. The labor force is distributed as follows: agriculture, 14\%; industry, 11\%; services, commerce, and government, 53\%; construction, 20\%; and oil and mining, 2\%. The GDP was US$98.1 billion in 1985-86, with an annual growth rate of 8\% and a per capita GDP of $9800. Under the impact of rapid economic growth, urbanization has advanced rapidly and 95\% of the population is now settled. Saudi Arabia, a monarchy, is divided into 14 provinces that are governed by princes or relatives of the royal family. Oil is the major source of foreign exchange, contributing 81\% of government revenues. Ample government funds and foreign exchange resources are available for development, defense, and aid to other Arab and Islamic countries. The government has sought to allocate its petroleum income to transform its relatively undeveloped oil-based economy into that of a modern industrial state while maintaining traditional Islamic values. The standard of living of most Saudis has improved significantly. A shortage of skilled workers at all levels remains the principal obstacle to rapid development.
This article was published in Backgr Notes Ser
and referenced in Business and Economics Journal