Saudi Population Reaches 32.6 million

by shariff mohammed | Mar 20, 2018

Saudi Population Reaches 32.6 million

Saudi Arabia's population is rising conspicuously. Its population including expatriates reached 32.6 million at the end of 2017. Of the total, according to recent demographic survey by the General Authority of Statistics (GaStat), Kingdom’s domestic population constitutes 62.6 percent or 20.4 million and the remaining 37.4 percent or 12.2 million is represented by non-Saudis.  Total male population is estimated at 18.8 million including 10.4 million Saudis and 8.4 million expatriates while female population is represented by 10 million Saudis and 3.8 million non-Saudis, writes Shamsul Huda.

 

Male

Female

Total

Saudi

10.4

10.0

20.4

Non-Saudi

8.4

3.8

12.2

Grand Total

18.8

13.8

32.6

Saudi and Non-Saudi Population: 2017

(in million) 

Source: General Authority of Statistics (GaStat)

The vital and most important segment of the Saudi population is its young generation. Based on the latest estimates, Saudi population between the age group of 14 and 60 stands at 13. 4 million including 6.9 million males and 6.7 million females. Meanwhile, in the age group between 0-14, the number of population is 6.2 million while in the age group between 60 and 80 plus, the population is around 0.9 million.   

According to the GaStat survey conducted in 2016, the Saudi population is divided among different age groups. The 0-14 age group contains the median amount of the population, comprising 32.4% of the total. The middle age group of 15-64 makes up the greatest share of the total population - about 64.8%. The 65+ age group comprises 2.8% of the total population.

The survey results have shown important factors. At least 24.8 percent of the total population are less than 15 years while the people who ranges between 15-64 years old represent 72 percent, but only 3.2 percent are older than 65 years. The corresponding ratio of the male population represented 22 percent, 75 percent and 3 percent respectively. The corresponding ratio of the female population represented 28.5 percent, 67.9 percent and 3.6 percent respectively.

Saudi Population: 2017

(in million)

Age group

Male

Female

Total

0-4

1.1

1.1

2.2

5-9

1.1

1.0

2.1

10-14

1.0

0.9

1.9

15-19

0.9

0.8

1.7

20-24

1.1

1.0

2.1

25-29

1.0

1.0

2.0

30-34

0.9

0.9

1.8

35-39

0.8

0.8

1.6

40-44

0.7

0.6

1.3

45-49

0.6

0.5

1.1

50-54

0.4

0.4

0.8

55-59

0.3

0.3

0.6

60-64

0.2

0.2

0.4

65-69

0.2

0.2

0.4

70-74

0.1

0.1

0.2

75-79

0.07

0.07

0.1

80 plus

0.08

0.09

0.1

Grand total

10.4

10.0

20.4

 

Region-wise Population

The population in Saudi Arabia is geographically distributed to 13 administrative regions. The results of the geographical distribution showed that Makkah tops the list with 8.6 million including 4.9 million males and 3.7 million females. Riyadh sits in the second position when its population reaches 8.3 million including 4.8 males and 3.5 million females.  The Eastern Province stands third in ranking of population distribution. It is home to over 4.9 million citizens and its male population is around 2.9 million while female population is over 2.0 million.

 

Asir ranks fourth with 2.2 million followed by Madinah with 2.1 million, Jazan with 1.5 million, Al Qasim with 1.4 million and Tabuk with 0.9 million. The Hail region has 0.7 million people while Najran has 0.6 million and Al Jouf , Al Baha and Northern Border each  has 0.5 million.  Meanwhile, according to the survey conducted in 2016, the male/female age distribution in the Kingdom's 13 regions as follows: The age distribution of the Kingdom population by sex varies deferent from one region to another. The 15-year age group dropped to its lowest level in Al Baha at 22.9 percent while it jumped to its top level in Al-Jouf 29.5 percent. The 15-64 age group touched the bottom in Najran and Al-Jouf at 67.6 percent and the peak in Eastern region at 73.7 percent. During the same period, the 65-year age group recorded the highest level in Al Baha at 5.5 percent but dropped to its lowest level in the Eastern region at 2.3 percent.

The age distribution of the non-Saudis population by sex dramatically varies from one region to another. The 15-year age group dropped to its lowest level in Al Jouf at 8 percent while it jumped to its top level in Jazan to 19.2 percent. The 15-64 age group touched the bottom in Najran at 77.9 percent and the peak in Al Baha region at 91.5 percent.

Meanwhile , the 65-year age group recorded the highest level in Al-Madina at 3.7 percent, but dropped to its lowest level in Hail at 0.4 percent. The Saudi male population distribution is so much similar to the distribution of the Saudi female population in all regions, but it is not similar for the non-Saudis.  In the context of the age dependency ratio, it dropped to the lowest value - 36 percent – in the Eastern region and touched the peak in Najran at 48 percent. The Saudi age dependency ratio was at its lowest level in Makkah at 48 percent and at its highest in Al- Jouf at 67 percent. The same ratio varies for the non-Saudis population from region to another. It tops the records in Jazan at 28 percent and the lowest level was recorded in Al Baha at 9.3 percent. The age dependency ratio among non-Saudis dropped due to the huge number of non-Saudis who come for work while their ages range between 15 and 64 years, but their ratio down in the other age groups 15 years and 65 years.

Region-wise Saudi Population Including Expatriates: 2017

(in million)

Regions

Males

Females

Total

Makkah

4.9

3.7

8.6

Riyadh

4.8

3.5

8.3

Easter Province

2.9

2.0

4.9

Asir

1.2

1.0

2.2

Madinah

1.2

0.9

2.1

Jazan

0.8

0.7

1.5

Al Qassim

0.8

0.6

1.4

Tabouk

0.5

0.4

0.9

Hail

0.4

0.3

0.7

Najran

0.3

0.3

0.6

Al Jouf

0.3

0.2

0.5

Al Baha

0.3

0.2

0.5

Northern Border

0.2

0.2

0.4

Total

18.7

13.8

32.6

 

In Saudi Arabia people mostly live in urban areas. According to the World Bank collection of development indicators, the urban population growth was recorded 2.5 percent in 2016 and over 83.33 percent people work and live in urban centers. There has been rapid growth in urban population in Saudi Arabia. Based on data it is found that there were only 1.3 million urban population in 1960 whereas, it rose to over 26.2 million in 2015.  

In the Kingdom, until the 1960s, most of the population was mainly  nomadic or seminomadic. Later on,  due to rapid economic and urban growth, more than 95 percent  of the population has been settled in urban areas. According to estimates, over 80 percent of Saudis live in ten major urban centers— Makkah, Jeddah, Makkaha, Medina, Eastern Province, Asir, Al Qassim  and Tabuk. 

Saudi Urban Population

Year

Population (in million)

1960

1.3

1965

1.9

1970

2.8

1975

4.3

1980

6.5

1985

9.7

1990

12.5

1995

14.8

2000

17.1

2005

20.0

2010

23.1

2015

26.2

Source: World Bank

 

The tremendous urban population growth in the Kingdom during the past decades has been attributed to massive socio-economic development and   many urban and pre-urban centers have seen a rapid population growth. According to United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the proportion of the population living in urban areas in Saudi Arabia was 58.4 % in 1975, which  reached 86.6 % in 2001 and 91% in 2016. This rapid growth has increased the size of built-up areas and made a change in land use, especially in pre-urban areas.

Due to natural population growth and internal and external migration, the urban population in Saudi Arabian cities has increased, and the urban-rural ratio has changed. In early 1970, the Saudi urban-rural ratio was 1:3, and by the end of the nineties it became 3:1. This indicates that in each 3 urban people there is one in a rural area.  In the case of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, the figure is even higher. In 1965, there were only 227,000 inhabitants, while in 1975 it reached 710,000, and it had become more than doubled in 1985 (1.5 million), and more than four times (3.5 million) in1995 and 8.3 million in 2017.

Expat Population

The number of expatriates is currently estimated at around 12.2 million, representing more than one-third of the total Saudi population.  The foreign workers and their dependants began migrating to the Kingdom soon after oil was discovered in the late 1930s. A much greater increase in the numbers of foreign workers came with the oil-price boom during 1970s. They mostly came from the subcontinent and Arab countries. Many Arabs from nearby countries, particularly from Egypt, are employed in the Kingdom as the Egyptian community developed from the 1950s onwards. There also are significant numbers of Asian expatriates, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and from some African countries. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was also a significant community of South Korean migrant laborers, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, but most have since returned home.

There are a few hundreds of thousands of westerners who live and work in Saudi Arabia. Initially, the main influx was composed of Arab and western technical, professional and administrative personnel, but subsequently substantial numbers came from Southeast Asia. A large number of professional personnel were supplied by the western oil companies, many of whom worked for ARAMCO (the then Arabian-American Oil Company). Saudi Arabia has become increasingly dependent on foreign labor, and although foreign workers remain present in technical positions, most are now employed in the agriculture, cleaning and domestic service industries.

With the expatriate workers, Saudi total population was estimated to be doubled during 1970s. But from 1985 the declining oil price led to a decreased demand for foreign labour, resulting in a substantial drop in migration from Asia. However, at the same time, there was a significant increase of workers mostly domestic workers from Sri Lanka, Philippines and Indonesia.

The demand for foreign workers reached its saturation in the 1990s, but from the end of the decade the inflow of migrants resumed its increase. According to official figures in 2012, foreign workers filled 66 per cent of jobs in Saudi Arabia, despite an official unemployment rate of 12 per cent amongst Saudis. Although this high rate of unemployment rate has been a great concern of the Saudi government, the situation has persisted. This has, in part, been blamed on the Saudi education system. The Saudi economy has, therefore, remained dependent on expertise workers. But the unemployment has been going down significantly.  The overall unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8percent in the Kingdom in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the second quarter, according to a report from the General Authority of Statistics.

History of Saudi Population: 1950-2017

Year

Population

(million)

Male %

Female%

Density (km2)

World ranking

Growth rate

1950

3.1

50.75

49.25

1

85

0.00

1955

3.6

50.44

49.56

2

84

2.65

1960

4.1

50.22

49.78

2

83

2.81

1965

4.8

50.46

49.54

2

78

3.46

1970

5.8

50.91

49.09

3

76

3.80

1975

7.4

52.02

47.98

3

72

4.94

1980

9.7

53.64

46.36

5

61

5.57

1985

13.2

54.90

45.10

6

52

6.25

1990

16.3

56.01

43.99

8

51

4.36

1995

18.7

55.48

44.52

9

48

2.79

2000

20.8

54.46

45.54

10

48

2.08

2005

23.9

55.66

44.34

11

46

2.86

2010

27.4

56.15

43.85

13

45

2.79

2015

31.6

56.70

43.30

15

41

2.85

2017

32.6

57.07

42.03

15

41

2.16

Source: World Population Review

 

Saudi Arabia is one of the highest population growth countries in the world. Its population was only 3.1 million in 1950 including 50.75 percent males and 49.25 females. Since 1950, Saudi population has grown exponentially to over 32.6 million by the end of 2017. According to  the latest United Nations estimates, Kingdom’s population is now equivalent to 0.44 percent of the total world population. It ranks number 41 in the list of countries (and dependencies) by population and the population density in Saudi Arabia is 15 per Km2 (40 people per mi2).

The significant factor in the Saudi population is that the Kingdom’s population will reach its peak during 2060s when it is expected to rise to over 46.3 million. From then, it will start showing signs of downward growth. In 2070, Saudi population is expected to decline by 0.05 percent to 46.2 million. And this declining trend will continue and by 2095,  Kingdom’s population  will be around 44.6.

Saudi Population Projection: 2095

Year

Population (million)

Density (km2)

Growth rate

2020

34.7

16

00.0

2025

37.3

17

1.44

2030

39.5

18

1.55

2035

41.3

19

0.91

2040

42.8

20

0.70

2045

44.0

20

0.58

2050

45.1

21

0.56

2055

45.8

21

0.32

2060

46.2

21

0.17

2065

46.3

22

0.04

2070

46.2

21

-0.05

2075

46.0

21

-0.09

2080

45.7

21

-0.11

2085

45.4

21

-0.13

2090

45.0

21

-0.16

2095

44.6

21

-0.20

 

Currently, the gender ratio of the Saudi population is 104 male/100 female. It lies within the normal standards (95/105). This means the community in Saudi Arabia is normal as the number of male citizens are close to the number of female citizens. The distribution of the non-Saudis by gender is very high than normal at 218 male/100 female. It might be attributed to the rise of demand on foreign male workers as the majority of them arrive here on their own for business and leave their household behind in their origin countries. The total ratio of distribution by gender in the Kingdom hits 135 male/100 female nationals. The ratio is higher than normal and is attributed to the same reason as the total number of non-Saudis is high.

 

The birth rate in Saudi Arabia is 18.51 births per 1000 people, and the total fertility rate is 2.17 children born per woman. This was an estimate calculated through the results of the census held in 2012. The number of births and deaths per year has been increasing over the past years. Current figures indicate 569,000 births per year and 98,000 deaths per year.


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