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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 Aarti Nagraj
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.