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The face of the people living in the United Arab Emirates is changing, when we compare the 2021 UAE population statistics with the previous years, it is evident that the change is at its peak today. With more foreigners, the country is now ethnically more diverse than ever before.

There is no single reason why people keep coming to live in the UAE from all over the globe It could be the liberal tax policies of the government, the beaches, or the ministry for happiness and well-being.

Believe it or not, the latest stats say that even in the midst of Covid-19, there is a 0.05 million increase in population from last year’s figures, even we could see many companies closing their door, people leaving the country in panic mode to be close to their families. I make here now a wild guess. In 2020 the UAE run a lot of programs to give visa violators amnesty and release fines for overstaying. The result could be that even more people are with legal status in the country than before. Let’s get down to the details.

2021 marks the 50th birthday of the United Arab Emirates. At the time of formation, 277,463 residence lived in the UAE followed by a 15% growth of population per year. 

When GMI was researching for this infographic, they came across many conflicting figures for the population of the UAE in 2021. Looking at data from a host of different institutions could not make a clear picture. Everyone uses their own systems and methodologies to draw a picture of the numbers. In the end, Global Media Insights chose to go with the United Nations’ data as it would be more or less in line with the UAE government’s official data.

Here is a quick summary of how the count might be different for the sources; United Nations 9.99 million, CountryMeters.info 10.05 million, Worldometers.info 9.97 million, Statista.com 11.42 million, Worldpopulationreview.com 9.96 million, PopulationPiramid.net 9.99 million.

Looking at the gender split, we can see 69% (total of 7.19 million) males are residence in the UAE, versus 31% (total of 2.79 million) females. This is a slight increase in females since 2018 (28% females living in UAE).

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While back in 2018 the median age group in the UAE was 33.5 years, we can see that the number of children (0-14 years age, 14.95% – 1.4 million) and young generation did not increase a lot (15-24 years age, 11.8% – 1.1 million). Could we say that the UAE is too expensive for families to live in, 6 out of 10 parents say school fees are too expensive? Well, the age group which could be parents did increase, the largest age group is the 25-54 years old residence which counts 66.35% (6.6 million) which is more than 6.3 million in 2018.

We can see that the number of elder people did decrease from 2018 coming from 0.14 million to 0.1 million in 2021 for the age group 65+.

Dubai is the emirate with the largest population of the UAE, 3.42 million (46%) people call their home Dubai.

Abu Dhabi has experienced a massive decline in population, while in 2018 3.28 million people lived in the capital, only 1.51 million called 2021 their home Abu Dhabi. Sharjah has a steady increase from 1.51 million to 1.73 million by 2021.

A big shift also happen in Ajman, nearly over 1/3 of the population left the emirate since 2018 (0.54 million) by 2021 (0.39 million). In Ras Al Khaimah the decline has also been experienced, in 2018 0.39 million have been living there versus in 2021 only 0.25 million. Al Fujairah had a massive change nearly four times lesser people live in Al Fujairah in 2021 (0.06 million) compared to 2018 (0.25 million).

The ratio between expatriates and Emiratis stayed in the same time frame nearly the same, 11.48% (1.38 million) of Emiratis live together with 8.5 million expatriates. The nation mix stayed nearly the same und all expatriates.

The decline of social media usage on the leader side impacts Facebook, a decline happen from 9.3 million users vs 7.89 million users in 2021. Whatsup faces the issue of declining from 9.25 million to 8.01 million users in 2021. People continue to trust videos vom Youtube, the number of users climbed from 7,72 million to 8.73 million between 2018 and 2021.

Wrap Up

While taking a closer look at the 2021 UAE population by nationality, there are people from more than 200 nationalities living and working in the country. The population is heavily concentrated in the northeast region of the country, where the three largest Emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah – are located. The area alone is home to 75% of the population. The UAE attracts more than ever visitors and the numbers are proofing it.

We can see the positive sign that the travel and tourism sector directly supports over 300,000 jobs in the UAE which is 5.4 percent of total employment. The outlook is positive, it’s expected to rise by 2.4 percent per annum to 410,000 jobs which would be 5.9 percent of total employment in 2027. The oil & gas industry is still dominating the countries GDP development and investments with over 60% contribution in the GDP.

UAE Population 2021 infographic
Skillz Middle East makes Digital Transformation happening for your company. We focus on the quick win to ensure Digital Marketing, e-learning, Web Meeting, Web Conferencing, Digital Signature, Digital Asset Management are ready to enhance your organization. Digital Marketing shall save money and bring a more efficient conversion for your brand and products.
Dieter Hovorka

CTO, Co-founder, Skillz Middle East

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