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"Kuwait - which has a population of 4.8 million, including 3.4 million foreign workers - has the world's sixth-largest known oil reserves." BBC-Kuwait

The word "including" confuses me, because include means to consider as a part of something. And it also means adding something (or someone) to a category or group.

So, to me, as a non-native English speaker, such a sentence might be ambiguous.

To sum up, does this sentence mean: The population is 4.8 million Kuwaitis and there are also additionally 3.4 million foreigners (non-citizens), which makes a total of 8.2 million people currently living in the country?

Or does it mean; The population is 4.8 million, and 3.4 million of this number is foreign workers, and the number of Kuwaiti citizens are actually 1.4 million people?

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  • Population itself refers to the people live in a particular country so it should be clear that foreign workers also live in that country.
    – Sam
    Dec 16, 2023 at 16:42
  • But then the number of foreign workers are more than twice the number of citizens, which is a little bit weird. Just imagine, the UK population is 67 million. And if I write the same sentence structure for UK, here is the weird situation: "UK - which has a population of 67 million, including 20 million foreign workers". Such a sentence would not seem to make sense, would it? This is why I couldn't make sure if I understood the sentence correctly.
    – Yunus
    Dec 16, 2023 at 16:51
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    This is the very dictionary definition of the word 'including'. What makes it incomprehensible? Is it just that you are surprised a country could contain more migrant workers than native? This is not unusual in the Emirates, or anywhere on the 'oily side' of the Gulf. See Dubai where only 15% of the population is native. Dec 16, 2023 at 17:19
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    Google says Most of the country's population reside in the urban agglomeration of the capital and largest city Kuwait City. As of 2022, Kuwait has a population of 4.45 million people of which 1.45 million are Kuwaiti citizens while the remaining 3.00 million are foreign nationals from over 100 countries. Just because Britain wouldn't welcome 130 million immigrants doesn't mean Kuwait has the same attitude. Dec 16, 2023 at 17:23
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    @FumbleFingers, yes that is almost correct. I couldn't imagine such a situation - there being 2,5 times more foreigners than the citizens. So I looked up the word "to include", and found the meaning "to add". So, I thought "including" might mean "additionally" in that sentence, but still as a non-native speaker I was not 100% sure, which is why I wanted to make sure.
    – Yunus
    Dec 16, 2023 at 18:43

1 Answer 1

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The meaning here means that the 4.8 million includes the count of 3.4 million. That is there are 4.8-3.4 = 1.4 million Kuwaitis who are not foreign workers.

That the number of foreign workers is larger than the number of citizens is notable, but not so unusual in the region. The same is true in the UAE, in which citizens form about 10-15% of the population, most are foreign residents.

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