Family Life
The family has always been important in Kuwaiti society and traditionally the family meant the whole extended family or clan. The homes of most Kuwaiti people were large and accommodated several generations of family members. Modernization of Kuwaiti society has changed that. Families are now commonly broken into small family units, who live in separate homes. Related families still tend to cluster near each other. Social relations and family obligations are still conducted and expressed through the extended family. Parents usually reside with one or more of their children. 

In the past, men and women in some Kuwaiti families were segregated in daily life. Marriages were arranged and gender roles were clearly set. Men worked to provide for their families, while women raised the children and maintained the home. Larger traditional homes were designed to separate the lives of the two genders.

Did you know? 

Traditionally, the Bedouins depended on camels, sheep and goats for their survival. 


The modernization of the last few decades has led to greater flexibility in gender roles and family relations. Marriage outside the extended family is more common now, although parental consent remains vital. Women now have the opportunity to work outside the home and segregation within the home and extended family is diminishing.

Kuwaitis traditionally value large families. The number of children, particularly sons, was associated with prestige and honour and five or more children in a family was the norm. While children are still a source of great pride and joy, Kuwaiti families now average three to five children. The care of children has been the primary responsibility of mothers supported by other women from the extended family. The recent affluence of many Kuwaiti families, however, has provided the opportunity to supplement traditional extended family support by importing nannies and other servants. 

Did you know? 

The vote in Kuwait's electoral process is provided only to men. Women are not allowed to vote.