Known for tall buildings, deserts, and oil, the United Arab Emirates is one of the most diverse countries in the world. The country is home to over 8 million expats originating from 200 different countries around the world; the nationals only amount to 1.16 million. (The UAE expat population is increasing fast.)
Surprisingly, the UAE expat population is far greater than the number of locals. The current population of UAE is primarily based on expats. And if you are a marketer or a digital marketing agency in Dubai, creating a marketing strategy for such a diverse audience can be challenging.
This article will give you some amazing insights into the diverse population of the UAE, including the financial hub Dubai. Make sure you read till the end to supercharge your marketing strategy with the help of the latest UAE demographics data.
Table of Contents
Fast Growing Economy & Job Opportunities for Locals & Expatriates
When it comes to economic growth, UAE is the fifth largest economy in the Middle East with a GDP of US $501 billion in 2022-2023. And these numbers are further expected to grow to 558.71 by 2026.
An interesting fact about UAE is expatscontribute more to its growth than the locals.
Due to its strong economy, the UAE is a hot destination to live and work for Asian and African pople.
At the same time, investors from all over the world see opening a business in the UAE as relatively cheaper and more sustainable due to political and economic stability.
Since becoming an independent country, the UAE has hosted millions of expatriates. In 1950, the total population of the UAE was just 70,000. But as the country discovered oil and infrastructure activities began, expatriates in the hunt for job and investment opportunities settled in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other main cities of the region.
Though there’s no estimated data available, thousands of people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Philippines, and some African countries, land in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in search of jobs every month.
Total Population of UAE 2021 & UAE Population 2021-2022-2023
According to the latest data available, the total population of UAE is between 9.9 million to 10.03 million. The UAE total population in 2021, when the United Nations gathered data about the UAE’s total population, it was estimated to be 9.99 million.
The human population growth rate of the UAE is increasing gradually. The local government attributes it to the rapid development taking place in the region. As a result, more expatriates are working in the UAE than ever before.
If we go back a little, in 1970 the total population of the UAE was only 226,000. In the next five years, it grew to 560,000—-almost doubled.
Statista: 9.9 Million
World Bank: 10 Million
United Nations: 9.9 Million
UAE Population by Age/UAE Citizen Population by Age
The young population is an asset for any country. The United Arab Emirates is quite lucky in this regard. Roughly 83.66% of the UAE’s population ages between 15-54, according to Statista. On the lower side, 14.89 % of the total population is under 15 while only 1.45% of people are 65 or older.
UAE Population by Gender
The gender difference in the total population is quite stark. This is due to the fact that more than 80% of the UAE’s total population is based on expatriates. And a majority of these expatriates are males, living in the UAE alone to earn bread and butter for their families residing in another country.
It is estimated that around 68% of the population (6.9 million) is male and 32%(3.15 million) is female.
Dubai Total Population 2022 vs The Population of Dubai 2021
When we talk about the population of the UAE, the financial hub Dubai holds significant importance. Known as a major tourism destination in the Middle East, Dubai is home to the world’s biggest tech and advertising companies, the world’s most beautiful and luxurious resorts, restaurants where you can taste exotic dishes, and a lot more.
You can Google and discover some of the interesting facts about Dubai—-like how its port contributes massively to its revenue, the diversity, and how the colors of Asian and European countries are blended to form its unique culture, etc.
The total population of Dubai in 2021 was roughly 3 million. A year later, in 2022, it is estimated to be around 3.5 million. Dubai population by nationality is hard to calculate because people from hundreds of countries are living in Dubai.
Dubai’s local population is only 15% of the total population. So you can imagine the contribution of expats to the city’s growth.
Sharjah Population 2022-2023
In terms of the area, Sharjah is the second biggest city of the UAE. Like its siblings, the Sharjah population has also increased in the last few years. The current population of Sharjah is roughly 1.4 million; around 1.2 million are expatriates.
The population of Sharjah in 2021 was reported to be pretty much the same as today(only a marginal increase, if any).
Abu Dhabi Population 2022-2023
The Abu Dhabi population 2021 is the second largest among all the cities of the UAE. In terms of job and investment opportunities, it comes next to Dubai. The current population of Abu Dhabi is 1,540,000, a 1.85% increase from 2021.
The nationals make up a mere 11%(1.15 million), while expatriates comprise 89%(8.84 million) of the total population. Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is quite diverse. You will find Americans, French, British, South Asians, and African people in Abu Dhabi, some doing jobs while others running businesses.
The Population of UAE 2021 by Nationality/ UAE Population by Nationality 2021
The UAE local population is not even one-third of its total population. It hosts millions of immigrants from hundreds of countries and the UAE local population 2021 was reported to be around 1.16 million. Have a look at the UAE population 2021 by nationality statistics compiled by various embassies:
The Use of Social Media in the UAE
Dubai’s population growth rate is increasing. Not just the Emiratis but the expats, too, use social media to stay in touch with their loved ones. Around 98% of its total population is on Facebook. And pretty much the same number of people from the UAE are active on Whatsapp.
According to the data compiled in 2021, Instagram had 4,586,000 active users from the United Arab Emirates. Around 80% of the residents use YouTube for learning and entertainment purposes.
The Value of Ecommerce Sales & the Potential of Digital Marketing in the UAE
Dubai’s population growth rate is significant. And the same is the case in the entire UAE region. Not just Dubai’s local population but the expats also buy goods online.
The e-commerce industry in the United Arab Emirates is expected to hit 17 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. Right now, it stands at seven billion U.S. dollars. (Statista)
Around 73% of online consumers in the UAE are shopping more online since the start of the pandemic. (Mastercard Study)
So you can imagine the potential of going digital. Whether you are selling a physical product online or offering any kind of service, you can accelerate your growth by going digital.
And when it comes to SEO and digital marketing strategy, knowing the demographics is essential. To succeed in a highly diverse market, you must segment your audience and create a personalized marketing plan for each. The one-size-fits-all approach will not work in the UAE.
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