Abu Dhabi population swells

Statisticians say rapid development fuels need for expatriate workers, while Emirati birth rate is high and the death rate low.

ABU DHABI // Surging growth and development in Abu Dhabi have almost doubled the population in eight years.

In mid-2005 there were 1,374,169 people in the emirate. By the middle of last year that figure had risen to 2,453,096, of whom 1,747,833 were male and 705,263 female. The annual rate of population growth over the eight years was 7.5 per cent.

Last year about 1.5 million people lived in Abu Dhabi city, 650,000 in Al Ain and 300,000 in Al Gharbia, the Western Region. Of those, 495,368 were Emirati and 1,957,728 expatriates, compared with 344,350 and 1,029,819 in 2005.

Experts at Scad, the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi, who compiled the figures, said the main reason for the high population growth was an influx of expatriate workers required to meet the emirate’s development needs.

“Most of the growth has shown the influx of expatriates to the emirate to satisfy the economic and developmental projects taking place across the emirate of Abu Dhabi,” said Walter Frederic Robb, assistant manager for population and social statistics at Scad.

“Continuing development of the economy, which requires an additional workforce in terms of jobs, had led to the growth of population. Plenty of new projects and developments are under way, which generate new demands for a workforce from outside the country,”

Among UAE nationals, there were massively more births than deaths, and therefore population growth. Last year alone, 15,570 Emiratis were born and only 932 died. Overall there were 35,963 births and 3,015 deaths.

Infant mortality in 2013, of children under a year old, was 6.6 per 1,000 births among Emiratis and 6.1 in the expatriate population.

The fertility rate in Abu Dhabi is higher than in most of the developed world, and mortality remains extremely low. Last year there were 14.7 births per 1,000 population and 1.2 deaths per 1,000 population, compared with 1.8 deaths in 2005.

Gross domestic product, an important economic indicators, has also grown.

“Abu Dhabi’s 2013 GDP at current prices is estimated at Dh953 billion, compared with Dh909bn in 2012,” said Butti Al Qubaisi, director general of Scad – a growth rate of 4.8 per cent.