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Young and in debt

Young and in debt

More than a quarter of Arab youths owe money, mostly in the form of credit cards and personal loans. But how did they borrow so easily?

March 7, 2010 6:40 by

About one in four Arab youths are in debt, according to a survey of 2,000 nationals and Arab expatriates in nine countries across the region.

The Arab Youth Survey, conducted by public relations company Asda’a Burson-Marsteller, found that the situation was particularly bad in Saudi Arabia, where 52 percent of the respondents claimed to be in debt.

Overall, 40 percent of the respondents – all of whom were aged between 18 and 24 – claimed that they had credit card debts, while 25 percent said that they had personal bank loans. Auto loans followed closely at 21 percent, while only 8 percent of the respondents said that they were burdened with student loans.

Out of the 52 percent of Saudi respondents who are in debt, 66 percent have credit card debts, 23 percent have personal bank loans and 6 percent have auto loans.

Interestingly, in Oman, where 35 percent of the youth have loans, 11 percent said that they didn’t know how they accumulated the debt. The majority, 31 percent, had personal bank loans, and 11 percent of them, the highest in the region, claimed that they had taken small business loans.

The situation in Bahrain, where 32 percent of the youth have debts, is similar to that in Saudi, with 45 percent of respondents claiming to have credit card debts, followed by 27 percent with personal bank loans. The UAE youth seems to be less in debt than their neighbors, with just 23 percent stating that they have loans – although personal loans were more common in the Emirates than anywhere else.

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  1. Omani on March 7, 2010 7:04 pm

    consumerism means that the latest mobile , and a new car is how many have accumulated debt

  2. Miss Anne Thropic on March 8, 2010 10:56 am

    Very sad. The concept of living within one’s means is lost on nationals and expats alike in the Arab world.

  3. Ronald on March 10, 2010 10:28 am

    I have spent my entire teenage hood and early twenties dodging offers for auto loans and credit cars and stupid personal loans.

    Kids and youth tend to want to have the ability to have everything, and a credit [card] gives them just that. they are too young to understand the ramifications down the line.

    i dont blame the young people, they are foolish by nature, it’s the banks that should be blamed, and the financial arm of the government for carring more on the end year bottom line than the financial well being of its young subjects. national or otherwise…

    every time there is an advert for some type of credit, banks, and their culprits the ad agencies go out of their way (sometimes genius) to make that taking on a debt and repaying it is as easy as 1 2 3… the pages of litigation, rules in fine print are rushed over by bank employees so that they can meet their quotas. i have yet to meet a banking employee that doesnt try to offer me some type of useless loan pledging that it is very easy and i wont feel the difference…

    Rubbish… although unfortunately it seems like its natural today to live in debt… it is not if you dont have the money for it, it means you have not earned it…. that is the main problem…

    the concept of earning something after hard work has dissapeared.. the bottom line it seems is what matters


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