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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is benefiting not only from a demographic dividend but also from a youth population that is financially aware, a recently released government survey shows.
The Saudi Youth Development Survey for 2019, prepared by the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT), noted that about 36.7 percent of the Kingdom’s population are comprised of Saudi youth aged between 15 and 34, while 67.02 percent of the population are aged between 0 to 34.
Saudi males are a tad higher in terms of numbers, at 51.03 percent of the population, compared with females at 48.97 percent, the survey noted.
GASTAT likewise said over 44.71 percent of Saudi youth, aged between 15 and 34, keep a percentage of their monthly salaries as savings for future financial needs, with about 2 in 5 of them setting aside for their nest eggs anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent of their salaries.
The survey likewise noted that a small group, about 0.38 percent, even keep between 75 percent and 100 percent of their monthly earnings.
While a good chunk of Saudi youth expressed no other specific goals for their savings, other than keeping it for emergency situations, the males were focused on boosting their financial reserves in time for marriage and for construction of their marital abodes.
Young Saudi women, meanwhile, were focused on saving money mainly for luxury goods, investments and personal business finances.
Overall, GASTAT noted that two-thirds of these young Saudi people earned a monthly income reported the adequacy of their monthly income to meet financial obligations, despite some of them facing struggles at work.
The report shines a light on the social, demographic and financial status of youth in the Kingdom “to emphasize the issues and challenges which they face, and provide a chance to figure out their needs,” GASTAT said.
Among other results, the Saudi youth study noted that more than half of them (55.1 percent) have benefitted from support programs provided by financial institutions, while only about one of five (19.21 percent) knew about providing emergency care, or first aid.
And in a nod to Saudi Arabia’s embrace of social media, a whopping 98.43 percent of the Saudi youth said they were connected on social networking sites, with over a third of them saying their online presence has affected their personal relationships.
The rising social media awareness of Saudi men was a focal point in the book Being Young, Male and Saudi: Identity and Politics in a Globalized Kingdom, which discussed the impact of globalization on the cultural and national identity of Saudi society.
The book was written by Mark Thompson, a senior associate fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies and an assistant professor of Middle East studies at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, based on his studies of the Saudi youth.
“Awareness of issues that affect people’s lives has increased, as has awareness of regional issues and global issues that impact the Kingdom,” he earlier told Arab News. “Without a doubt, this is linked to education and social media usage.”
Thompson’s book took a closer look at young Saudi men’s views on identity, employment, social ties, societal transformation, social media use, globalization, gender segregation, recreation, national development and individual participation.
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