Enquire Now


United Arab Emirates Population Statistics 2021

Posted by GMI Blogger Posted in Infographics,web design
July 1st, 2021 at 08:51am
uae population 2021

The face of the UAE is changing. When comparing 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 flocking into the country. 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. Let’s get down to the details.

When researching for this article, we came across many conflicting figures for the population of the UAE in 2021. We were looking at data from a host of different institutions, who had used their own systems and methodologies to arrive at their figures. In the end, we chose to go with the United Nations’ data as it would be more or less in line with the UAE government’s official data. 

Table of Content

UAE Population 2021 (Top Picks)

  • UAE Population in 2021 is 9.99 Million according to the data provided by the United Nations.
  • The Population Density in the United Arab Emirates is 118 per square kilometer.
  • The Total Expat Population of UAE in 2021 is 8.84 million.
  • Dubai Population in 2021 is 3.43 Million according to official Dubai Government website.

We have listed out these different figures in the following table.

Sources Population Year
United Nations 9,991,000 (9.99) 2021
CountryMeters.info 10,051,926 (10.05) 2021
Worldometers.info 9,973,977 (9.97) 2021
Statista.com 11.42 2021
Worldpopulationreview.com 9,959,169 (9.96) 2021
PopulationPiramid.net 9,991,083 (9.99) 2021

UAE Population Statistics 2021 : Infographics

UAE population statistics

Click to copy the code below to display this Image on your Blog or Website

UAE Population Statistics by Year (Historical Population)

Year Population
2021 9.99 Million
2020 9.89 million
2019 9.77 million
2018 9.54 million
2017 9.40 million
2016 9.27 million
2015 9.15 million
2014 9.07 million
2013 9.0 million
2012 8.90 million
2011 8.67 million
2010 8.27 million

UAE Population by Nationality in 2021

According to sources, the 2021 UAE population including expats is 9.99 million. The total expat population in UAE has now come to 8.84 million, which constitutes approximately 89% of the population. Emiratis or the UAE nationals are only 11% or 1.15 million today. 

Nationality Population
India 2.75 million
Pakistan 1.27 million
Bangladesh 0.74 million
Philippines 0.56 million
Iran 0.48 million
Egypt 0.42 million
Nepal 0.32 million
Sri Lanka 0.32 million
China 0.21 million
All other countries 1.79 million
Total Expat Population 8.84 million

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. Currently, the Indian population in UAE is the highest with 2.75 million, followed by Pakistanis with 1.27 million. The UAE has around 0.75 million Bangladeshi nationals, 0.56 million Filipinos, and 0.48 million Iranians. There are also people from Egypt (0.42 million), Nepal (0.32 million), Sri Lanka ( 0.32 million), China (0.21 million) and the rest of the world (1.79million).  

UAE population by nationality in 2021 statistics

Demographics of UAE in 2021

Considering the demographics of the UAE population, the nationals make up a mere 11%, while expatriates 89%. The current net migration rate is 1.93 per 1000 population. 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. 

Gender split population statistics of UAE in 2021

With 69% males and 31% females, the UAE has not yet achieved gender parity. This is visible across all age groups. With more expatriates, the majority of the UAE population (66.35%) falls into the 25-54 age bracket. 

According to recent statistics, the birth rate of the UAE is 10.110 births per 1000 people, and the death rate is approximately 2 deaths/1,000 population. The total fertility rate (TFR) in the country is registered at 1.73 live births per woman. The infant mortality rate is 5.3 deaths/1,000 live births while the average life expectancy is 79 years.

UAE Population by Age

Age Group Population Percentage
0-14 1.4 Million 14.95%
15-24 1.1 Million 11.80%
25-54 6.6 Million 66.35%
55-64 0.5 Million 5.80%
65+ 0.1 Million 1.10%

The median age is approximately 30.3 years. The population of children between 0 and 14 years is 1.4 million. The age group of 15-24 constitutes 1.1 million of the population, while the age groups 25-54 and 55-64 constitute 6.6 million and 0.5 million respectively. The country has 0.1 million people above the age of 65.

UAE population by age in 2021

UAE Population by Gender

Age Group Women Men Total
0-14 years 0.73 million 0.76 million 1.49 million
15-24 years 0.43 million 0.74 million 1.17 million
25-54 years 1.75 million 4.85 million 6.60 million
55-64 years 0.14 million 0.44 million 0.58 million
65 years and over 0.04 million 0.07 million 0.11 million

The 2021 UAE gender ratio is quite interesting to note. Men dominate the chart across all age groups. In the 25-54 years group, males outnumber females by 3.1 million. This can be attributed to the whopping expat population. Of the 1.4 million under-14 kids, males make up 0.76 million and females, 0.73 million. Similarly, between 15 and 24 years, there are 0.74 males and 0.43 females. While the number of men in the 55-64 age group is 0.44 million, the number of women stands at 0.14 million. Currently, in the UAE, there are 0.07 million men and 0.04 million women in the 65+ range.

UAE population by gender statistics

UAE Population – Adult vs Minor 

The 2021 UAE population stats show that 82.58% (8.24 million) are adults and 17.42% (1.75 million) are minors.

UAE Population by Emirates in 2021

UAE population by emirates

Most Popular Social Media Platforms in the UAE in 2021

social media user statistics in UAE

Dubai Population in 2021

Today, in 2021, the population in Dubai stands at 3.43 million. From 2.56 million in 2016 the population has grown by over 1 million in just six years. The most populous emirate now has a population density of about 762.6 per sq. km. in the metro area alone. There are 2.36 million males and 1.04 million females in Dubai (according to the latest available data from Dubai Statistics Center).

Dubai is the second-largest emirate in the country with an area of 4,114 sq. km. Located in the southwest corner of the Arabian Gulf, it is hailed as a global business hub and the commercial capital of the UAE. This cosmopolitan metropolis has more expatriates than Emiratis. Though the local population is Muslim, there are Christian, Hindu and Sikh communities. 

In 1980, the population of Dubai was roughly 0.27 million. The number rose to 0.68 million in 1995, and 1.3 million in 2005. In 2015, the population crossed the two million mark to reach 2.38 million. In 2018, it again crossed 3 million.

Dubai Population Growth

There are numerous factors for the high population growth rate in Dubai, the most important of them all is its cosmopolitan approach. This has triggered foreign nationals to come and settle in the region, making the expatriate population weigh more than the nationals. In a period of 30 years, the population has grown by millions. Now, with Expo 2020 Dubai ready to roll and the subsequent job opportunities (270,000 additional jobs) it is going to create, there are forecasts that the Dubai population may hit an all-time high in 2030.

(You can also read our 2018 blog examining the elements of last year’s population figures.)


UAE Population Infographics

Click to copy the code below to display this Image on your Blog or Website

According to an estimate by the World Bank, the UAE’s population in 2018 stands at 9.543 million.

Other sources which confirm this estimate include populationpyramid.com and uae-expatriates.com, while Facebook Insights reveal that the potential reach of the platform in the UAE in the third quarter of 2017 was 9.3 million. We can safely assume that the population of the UAE in 2018 stands at around 9.54 million.

The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) had published the that UAE population according to administrative records until 31 December 2016 was 9,121,167 (9.12 million).

FSCA is a government-backed agency formed to improve UAE’s data and competitiveness capabilities. FCSA claims that the population figures for 2016 are highly accurate and up-to-date. The population figures were derived with the support and collaboration of several national partners and other stakeholders.
The last official census of UAE was conducted in the year 2005, with the population numbers pegged at 4.1 million. The official UAE government website announced that the population stood at 4.8 million in 2008, which indicates that there has been a double-fold increase in the population in a span of 10 years.

Male vs Female Population of the UAE in 2018uae male vs femal population 2018 - gender wise population

According to our research, in 2018, males make up 72% of the UAE population at 6.89 million while the number of females account for only 28% of the total UAE population at 2.65 million. That makes the gender split at 72% male – 28% female.

gender wise population of uae in each age group

Men outnumber women in all age groups as mentioned in the above infographic. However, the number of males and females in age group 0 to 14 are almost equal.
The number of men under the age group 15 to 24 is double that of women in the same age group. The most significant difference, gender-wise, is seen in age group 25 to 54. There are 4.83 million men within this age group in the UAE whereas the number of women within this age group is just 1.46 million.

Demographics of the United Arab Emirates

The life expectancy in the UAE has been on a steady rise. The majority of the population falls into the 25-54 age bracket, again indicating that immigrants and expats make up a large chunk of UAE’s population.

Age-wise population of the UAE

Majority of the UAE population falls in the age group of 25 to 54 years. A large part of this can be attributed to the expatriate population of working men and women who fall in this age category.

The median age for Dubai is 33.5 years.

uae population stats for different age groups

(Source: populationpyramid.net)

Age-wise Population of the UAE

Age Group Women Men Total
0-14 years 0.67 million 0.69 million 1.36 million
15-24 years 0.40 million 0.81 million 1.21 million
25-54 years 1.46 million 4.83 million 6.29 million
55-64 years 0.09 million 0.45 million 0.54 million
65 years and over 0.03 million 0.11 million 0.14 million

Expatriate Population of the UAE in 2018

As stated previously in this article, expatriates and immigrants account for 88.52%. Emiratis make up remaining 11.48% of the population.
exaptriates population in UAE 2018
South Asians, which include people from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other South Asian nations, compose 59.48% of the population. The rest of population comprises of Egyptians at 4.23% and others at 17.94%. The UAE government’s population strategy envisions in making the Emiratis the majority community or at least bringing the numbers up to 40% by the year 2021.
Major expat population in uae

UAE Population by Nationality (Expat population of UAE in 2018 )

Nationality Population
India 2.62 million
Pakistan 1.21 million
Bangladesh 0.71 million
Philippines 0.53 million
Iran 0.45 million
Egypt 0.40 million
Nepal 0.30 million
Sri Lanka 0.30 million
China 0.20 million
All other countries 1.71 million
Total Expat Population 8.45 million

Digitization and Economic Status of the UAE

The UAE features among the top “adopter” economies in terms of connectivity within the Arab world according to Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index (GCI) 2017. The report analyzed 50 countries, of which 16 were considered as front-runners, 21 as adopters, while the remaining 13 as starters.
Front-runners mostly comprise of developed nations, Adopters have an average GDP per capita of $15,000 and starters are countries with an average GDP capita of $3,000. Adopters focused on increasing ICT demand and working towards digitization and economic growth.

Most popular Social Media Platforms in the UAE

Facebook is the most popular social media in the UAE with 97.48% of population using the social media platform.

WhatsApp is the most popular messenger app in the UAE with 97% of people in UAE using WhatsApp.

YouTube users in the UAE have also increased compared to previous year. According to Adwords insights, 80.92% of the UAE population (7.72 million) uses YouTube.

Emirate-wise Population

Nearly 75% of the population of UAE is concentrated on the northeast of the country. The two biggest cities Dubai and Abu Dhabi have more than 3 million residents each. Dubai, with the busiest port in the region, is the commercial capital of the country. Some of the biggest companies in the world have their headquarters in the city.


Abu Dhabi is the capital of the country. The city houses federal government offices and serves as the seat of the UAE Government. Nearly 95% of the oil and 92% of the gas in the country are in this Emirate, making it the wealthiest Emirate. When considering other entries in the list of city wise population distribution of UAE, Sharjah emerges a distant third from the big two with 1.51 million people. Sharjah’s close proximity to Dubai and much lower living costs can be attributed as reasons for its growth.

Population of Each Emirate in UAE (2018)

Emirate Population (2018)
Abu Dhabi 3.23 million
Ajman 0.54 million
Fujairah 0.25 million
Sharjah 1.51 million
Dubai 3.33 million
Ras al-Khaimah 0.39 million
Umm al-Quwain 0.08 million

How We Arrived At These Figures

The emirate-wise population mentioned here is projected from the last known official population figures released by the UAE government. Several other factors, including the historical population growth rate available from official records as well as events in these emirates which might influence the observed population growth were taken into account before arriving at the final population of each emirate.

The UAE government has conducted 4 censuses since the very first one 1980. when the last census was done in 2005, Abu Dhabi was the emirate with the most population. Since then, Dubai has grown rapidly to become the most populated city in UAE. This is reflected in the latest estimates by the UAE government. The government arrives at these population figures from the citizen and immigration records that it maintains.

Refer below graphs to compare the population change in each emirate.

Population of Abu Dhabi

Year Source Population
1980 Census 451,848
1985 Census 566,036
1995 Census 942,463
2005 Census 1,399,484
2010 Official Estimate 1,967,659
2015 Official Estimate 2,784,490
2016 Official Estimate 2,908,173
2017 *GMI Estimate 3,071,031
2018 *GMI Estimate 3,233,888

The oil boom of the 80s coincided with a massive population growth in Abu Dhabi between 1980 and 2005. The city’s population now shows a steady increase over the last decade, edging over 3 million in 2017.

Abu Dhabi Population Growth Chart : 2018

Population of Dubai

Year Source Population
1980 Census 276,301
1985 Census 370,788
1995 Census 689,420
2005 Census 1,321,453
2010 Official Estimate 1,837,610
2015 Official Estimate 2,383,017
2016 Official Estimate 2,566,209
2017 Official Estimate 2,976,455
2018 *GMI Estimate 3,327,677
2019 *GMI Estimate 3,350,000
2020 *GMI Estimate 3,384,000

This global hub for transport and business continues to grow exponentially every year. The population of the city has nearly tripled in the last 20 years making it UAE’s most populous city in 2018.

Population of Dubai - Chart Image - 2018

Population of Sharjah

Year Source Population
1980 Census 159,317
1985 Census 228,317
1995 Census 402,792
2005 Census 793,573
2010 Official Estimate 1,060,000
2015 Official Estimate 1,405,843
2016 Official Estimate 1,432,942
2017 Official Estimate 1,460,042
2018 *GMI Estimate 1,514,240

Even though it has a rich history that is more than 5000 years old, Sharjah is now considered an extension of Dubai. The city is part of the Sharjah-Ajman-Dubai urban zone.

Sharjah Population Chart - 2018

Population of Ajman

Year Source Population
1980 Census 36,100
1985 Census 54,546
1995 Census 121,491
2005 Census 206,997
2010 Official Estimate 263,000
2015 Official Estimate 512,285
2016 *GMI Estimate 519,201
2017 *GMI Estimate 526,117
2018 *GMI Estimate 539,948

The Emirate of Ajman forms a contiguous urban area with the Emirates of Dubai and Sharjah. In the 1980s Ajman was a small town with a population under one hundred thousand . Now it has grown manifold into a big city with over five hundred thousand people.
Population of Ajman - chart image - 2018

Population of Fujairah

Year Source Population
1980 Census 36,100
1985 Census 54,546
1995 Census 121,491
2005 Census 206,997
2010 Official Estimate 263,000
2015 Official Estimate 512,285
2016 Official Estimate 519,201
2017 Official Estimate 526,117
2018 *GMI Estimate 539,948

Known for its beaches, Hajar mountains and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Emirate for Fujairah underwent a population explosion in the 90s. The population of the Emirate is mainly employed in the cement, stone crushing and mining industries.

Fjairah Population Statistics

Population of Ras al-Khaimah

Year Source Population
1980 Census 73,918
1985 Census 96,578
1995 Census 143,334
2005 Census 210,063
2010 Official Estimate 277,532
2015 Official Estimate 345,000
2016 *GMI Estimate 355,350
2017 *GMI Estimate 365,700
2018 *GMI Estimate 386,400

The northern-most Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has a high percentage of Emirati citizens in their population. The main sources of employment in this Emirate are the cement industry and the agriculture sector.

Ras-al-Khaima Population chart - 2018 image

Population of Umm al-Quwain

Year Source Population
1980 Census 12,426
1985 Census 19,285
1995 Census 35,361
2005 Census 49,159
2010 Official Estimate 65,000
2015 *GMI Estimate 66,570
2016 *GMI Estimate 68,140
2017 *GMI Estimate 71,279
2018 *GMI Estimate 77,558

Located between Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Quwain has the lowest population among all the Emirates in the UAE. This is the only Emirate where women outnumber men. Fishing is the largest contributor to the economy of Umm al-Quwain. The islands around this Emirate make it a very important tourism destination.
Umm Al Quwain Population Chart Image - 2018

The Population Boom

Over the years, the country has gone through several key demographic changes. The discovery of oil gave momentum to the economy of the country. Recently, the UAE government has also been promoting a tourism and knowledge-based economy to spur the economic momentum. Today, Dubai ranks among the most visited cities of the world, ranking 6th with 16 million visitors in 2017, as per thisisinsider.com.

According to recruitment agencies, diversification of the UAE’s economy has led to a boom in the number of specialist jobs. With the rise of new establishments and businesses in the UAE, job opportunities are created for talented professionals in various fields including medicine and healthcare, tourism and hospitality, information technology, artificial intelligence, education, digital marketing, web development and web design, SEO and ecommerce, to name a few.

The increase in the number of jobs across sectors led to an influx of workers at all levels of all nationalities. Within a span of a decade, the total population grew by about 5 million. This boom in population was largely due to the burgeoning expat and immigrant population. UAE has the world’s highest net migration rate, with nearly 88.52% of population composed of expatriates and immigrants.

This becomes even more apparent when we look at the fertility rate in the UAE. The average rate of babies born per fertile woman has been showing a downward trend for the past decade, and yet the population is soaring.

An in-depth analysis of the population of the UAE can help marketers formulate plans, goals and strategies to promote their brand. With more than 19 years of experience in the digital landscape of the Middle East, GMI has crafted the digital presence of some of the best brands in the region. We understand what it takes to tap into your target audience on various digital platforms. We can help ideate and weave a  digital strategy that works for your brand. Talk to our digital strategists  today and take your brand to the people you want to reach.

Disclaimer: GMI acknowledges that though we try to report accurately, we cannot verify the absolute facts of everything that has been represented on this infographic. The information represented is based on information researched from various sources on the internet. We are not liable for any errors, financial loss, or damages of any kind that may result from the use of, or reliance on, the information herein.

Sharing is caring!

« Saudi Arabia Social ... Saudi Arabia Populat... »