Population Growth in Dubai


The paper examines the rapid population growth in Dubai, its patterns, and future trends. Lately, in comparison to the last three decades, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is rapidly progressing after the discovery of the oil in the Gulf. Since the Emirate of Dubai is not rich in other natural resources, it has reached the first place in terms of development indices, having high per capita income and advanced social development. Nevertheless, the rapid increase in the economy and in population of the UAE and Dubai has further implications for the environmental future of the country. The tourists’ attractions built in Dubai and the number of plants, roads, and vehicles harm the marine life. The emissions from cars make this place the first city for carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere. Furthermore, even though the natural increase in immigrants in Dubai is only 15 percent, a huge number of newcomers who represent the workforce of the Dubai’s services cause the increase of population. Under these conditions, the situation with the population structure has changed dramatically. In future, the country and the city of Dubai can experience financial difficulties if they would not change their politics toward improving the current issues.

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The world’s population grew to one billion throughout thousands of years. In the last 200 years, the population of the Earth has multiplied by seven. It has reached seven billion recently and the trend continues increasing every year in geometric progression. There are several reasons that can explain the rate of population growth in today’s world. The rising number of people who survive the reproductive age has triggered the rapid increase in population. Moreover, expanded urbanization and migration also influence ever-growing population rates and have a far-reaching implication for the further generations. The same sharp increase in population is observed in UAE in the city of Dubai. The statistics show that this growth in a number of people has become a major concern in Dubai, as it influences the environment, changes the population structure, and transforms the population growth pattern.

Until the late 1960s, when the oil was first discovered in Dubai, the land was under the British rule and was inhabited mostly by various immigrants such as merchants from India, seasonal workers from Persia, Baluchi families, and different traders. After the oil flourishing in 1973, the population of the new formed United Arab Emirates (UAE) increased sufficiently. The population rate soared dramatically in Dubai in late1970s – 1980s from 59,000 to 279,000 people. Nowadays, according to the international statistics, the population of Dubai grows with the other Emirates of UAE and is the fastest growing population. Nowadays, in addition to the rising number of inhabitants connected with the rapid increase in the economy, the Dubai’s population growth is also related to the number of tourists that come to the country annually. At the end of 2010, the UAE population was 8, 064, 270 people. This statistics demonstrates that from the year when the country was established, the population has multiplied by 28.

Population Growth Pattern

The main positions, which are used to describe a population growth pattern, are births per 10,000 population, rate of natural increase, deaths per 10,000 population, annual rate of growth, infant deaths per 10,000 live births, and the maternal mortality rate. Applying these positions to the population in Dubai the results will be as follows. The annual birth per 10,000 is 1,53 births while the rate of natural increase is 15 percent. In this country, the death rate per 10,000 of population is 0.2 deaths. Moreover, the annual rate of demographic growth was 5% in 2013 year. However, the most obvious increase of population was observed in 1975, as it constituted 16 per cent at that time. The last positions are the infant deaths that substitute 1.03 deaths per 10, 000 live births and maternal mortality rate that is six deaths to 100,000 live births.

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The UAE is a thickly populated country. With an area of 1,287.4km2, it has the population of 2, 657, 000 people. The particular above-mentioned facts clearly show that the rising rate of demographic growth in Dubai is caused not only by the natural growth but also by the migrations from the other areas in UAE such as Abu Dhabi or even from the foreign countries.

From the information above, it is possible to understand the current situation with the increasing population rate. However, some positions still need clarification. The maternal death rate is six deaths per one hundred thousand live births. This number seems to be not sufficient for the country with the increasing rate of population. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take into consideration that only about 25 per cent of the population in Dubai are women. Another 75 present are men, and it is reported that in Dubai the average ratio of men to women is 100 females per 313 males. Hence, the substantial increase in population is mostly caused by the migrations of the foreign workers who move to UAE on purpose or seasonal workers who come to UEA to earn money and stay there for a long time.

Changing Population Structure

It was estimated that the public sector in 2009 employed 15% of the foreign workers. When the labor force’s stock managed to overcome its financial crisis in 2008, the overall source of labor source increased to 4,417 million. Among them, 34% belonged to the workforce in the service sector, 12% of the employees work in industries, and the 24% of the total workforce were immigrants from other countries.

Thus, the immigration of people from overseas and the increased number of tourists’ visits every year have changed the population structure of Dubai in particular and the UAE in general. Apart from the increasing level of immigrants and as a result of growing population rate, the number of tourists is also rapidly rising, and presumably it may even reach ten million per year by the end of the 2018. Moreover, the politic strategy of the UAE aims to reach the amount of twenty million tourists by the end of 2020. To achieve this purpose, the government of the country is going to expand the proposal for tourists dynamically increasing the number of hotels, museums, entertainment venues, and theatres.

Therefore, the immigrants from other countries sustain the demographic and economic growth rates indeed. Some families of workers and even generations may stay for years. The Emirates authorities even started delivering an ID cards which guaranteed the residency or citizenship for immigrant communities. Another fact that triggered the change in population structure was that the proportion of emigrants, both females and males, marrying the non-national residents increased substantially over the last decade. This means that one out of five Emirati males married a foreign female. Nonetheless, women are less prone to marrying foreign males and constitute only five percent in the last half of a century. According to the Presidential decree signed in 2011, the children of Emirati women or men were allowed to marry foreign spouses to apply for citizenship after they reach the age of eighteen years. They are also privileged to get an allocated land or apply for housing, scholarship, medical care, and other benefits that the residents have. In fact, this enabled the immigrants who come to Dubai to become affluent and well-off. All these issues influenced the extraordinary population growth in Dubai and triggered the major changes in its population structure.

Future Trends of Population Growth

It is expected that the population of Dubai can reach five million by the end of 2030. What is more, the growing rate of population in future can lead to depletion or exhaustion of the natural resources. One can easily observe the striking parallels among rising population and the demand for education, energy, housing, and employment. A current state of events in the city shows that Dubai is not able to realize the future requirements and fully meet the needs of the community.

To handle the current issues, the government should take measures and prepare the country for the high proportion of tourists and residents. Furthermore, it is necessary to improve the traffic congestion, to manage waste, and to promote environmental awareness of people living there. To build a sustainable future for Dubai, it is also crucial to develop the institutional partnership and start exchanging the information with the other countries. The cities have to prioritize their communities’ welfare as well as preserve natural resources. The responsibility for the growing population of Dubai and the whole UAE are on the leaders who must take the right steps in order to attain a high quality of life in the cities.

Thus, the growing population rate is a mounting concern in Dubai. The number of inhabitants in Dubai is expected to reach five million in ten years. This can lead to further implications in future, because the country is not ready for the expanded level of population. To maintain the sustainable future of the country, the authorities of Dubai should think of creating more workplaces, entertainment possibilities, and strategies how to avoid a depletion of the non-renewable resources.

Impact of Population Growth on Environment

During the past decade with the rapid population growth, the environmental issues started disturbing the city of Dubai and made it look less vibrant. This place already has problems with managing the potentially hazardous situations for tourists. First, the purifying systems that should sanitize and desalinate the water from the Persian Gulf are not working properly and the level of salinity tap water is raising. Second, it was predicted that the entire Dubai’s slice of Persian Gulf is full of raw sewage. Third, despite having enormous oil reserves, the region is exhausting the energy sources that usually supply the tourists’ needs. The policy of Dubai’s leaders shows that the growing boom is so intense and devastating that people forgot about the nature. Business is in the first place for them, however, today they slowly come to realize the pitfalls that hide under their tremendously pragmatic theory.

Currently and in the nearest future, the biggest challenge for Dubai is water supply, because it is undrinkable without desalination. After the residents’ consumption, desalinated water from the Persian Gulf is has tremendously increased salinity level during the last years. In addition, the UAE generate colossal amount of heated sludge that pumps back onto the sea. This can damage the flora and fauna of the Dubai region, and most importantly, it threatens the marine life. Another important hazard for the environment is the carbon footprint in UAE. The overpopulation in Dubai will soon result in increasing number of cars and other vehicles. Thus, the largest footprint of carbon dioxide on the Earth will also be observed in Dubai. Another perennial problem concerns the waste reuse. An average waste treatment plant can possibly handle as much as double amount of waste on condition that it could properly work a day. Whilst the new skyscrapers are being built, the energy supply is decreasing and the environmental standards are not applied. This means that when the supply of oil ends, Arab Emirates will face considerable difficulties when trying to restore the spoiled environment and nature.


The abnormal population growth in Dubai has brought substantial complications to the economy of the city. The authority of the UAE should improve the industry and traffic, solve the occurring problem with waste, and maintain the tourists’ attractions. Moreover, the economics growth in such a rapid pace frequently occurs at the cost of damaging the environment. The mountain, marine, and coastal ecosystem need urgent protection from the government. The negligence with natural resources can also result it environmental deprivation. Therefore, protecting nature of Dubai from this problem should be the top one question in the country’s politics, because its picturesque landscapes are the main attraction that in future will bring money to the UAE’s economy.

The oil that was found in the UAE has highly urbanized the country. However, the scholars consider that the oil supplies are likely to be completely utilized in 40 – 50 years. Uranium is also projected to end within the decade. Thus, the government has to realize that the fragile economy of Dubai depends on other countries and some reasonable actions that might help to maintain the Dubai's economy and its social welfare should be implemented.

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