Inside Saudi Arabia

(Dallas Morning News) - Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were young Saudis from middle-class backgrounds with limited prospects for success. Hundreds of thousands of young Saudis graduate into an economy that creates only 25,000 jobs a year. The oil money that flooded into Saudi Arabia 25 years ago led to a population explosion, from 9.9 million in 1980 to 22 million in 2000. The birth rate soared, but so did the number of imported workers. More than 7 million foreigners, with no prospect of citizenship, now live in Saudi Arabia. Oil wealth did not keep pace with the population increase. The average income in the kingdom has fallen by more than half, to $7,500 a year. Saudis make up 95 percent of the petroleum workforce. But in the rest of the economy, only one in seven workers is a Saudi. The Saudi standard of living is still five or six times higher than that of its foreign workers from Bangladesh, the Philippines, and India.

2002-06-26 00:00:00

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