Dubai population to double by 2027

On World Population Day, Dubai’s population surpassed 3 million people, one-third of UAE’s 9.3 million

July 11 marked World Population day which aims to raise awareness of the global population issues facing the 7.6 billion people alive today. According to experts, cities such as Dubai will have its work cut out for it to accommodate its rising population growth whilst balancing quality of life and infrastructure.

Today, Dubai’s population has reached 3.086 million people which makes up approximately one third of the total UAE national population of 9.27 million residents, according to the latest Dubai Statistics Centre figures.

This figure is expected to increase to over five million by 2027, thanks primarily to the influx of expatriates who migrate to the UAE each year in search of employment. Over the last 40 years, the UAEs population has grown by over 1000 per cent making it one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

According to the latest population bulletin released by the Dubai Statistics Centre in 2016, Dubai’s infrastructure is not only used by residents living in Dubai, but also by a further 1.1 million people who live outside of the Emirate and commute to work in the city every day.

The latest bulletin goes on to show that roughly 70 per cent of Dubai is comprised of males and the remaining 30 per cent of the population is made up of females.

With the population of Dubai expected to almost double by 2027, such a significant rate of population growth can lead to a variety of issues. The most apparent being the construction and maintenance of infrastructure. Housing obviously must be provided for a booming population and this can prove to be challenging, particularly in already densely packed cities with limited space.

How it adds up over three years

2015 2016 2017
Emiratis 222,875 233,430 245,200
Expatriates 2,223,800 2,465,170 2,731,255


According to the World Migration Report 2015, Dubai has the highest foreign-born population across any major global city with 83 per cent of the Emirate comprising of residents from other countries.

A sizable foreign-born population invariably has a profound impact on a place. On a positive note, an increasingly cosmopolitan demographic can be tremendously valuable to a location by bringing in fresh ideas and more and wider skillsets. These benefit the host locality in the form of improved services and facilities that are available to existing residents, the private sector and public sector, ranging anywhere from improved quality of higher-skilled medical professionals who bring the latest technology to improve the overall quality of healthcare, to something as simple as new chefs who introduce new kinds of cuisine to people.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the UAE University (UAEU), Dubai’s population exploded by over 1000 per cent over the last four decades with Dubai growing from 132,371 people in 1975 to more than 2.1 million people in 2015, a growth rate of 6.5 per cent every year fueled nearly entirely by expatriates.

Also highlighted in the study was that Dubai had one of the highest annual increases in population with a 6.5 per cent growth rate from 2005 to 2015 when it reached 2.1 million people. If the population of Dubai continues on this trajectory, it will more than double by 2027, reaching around five million people.

The study also noted that the built-up area of Dubai grew from 54 square kilometers in 1975 to 977 square kilometers in 2015 which also means that there has been a great urban expansion. This expansion has not only extended within Dubai but across to Eastern areas like Sharjah and Ajman, with many people who work in Dubai going to live in both those cities.

By the numbers

Dubai Emirati population

2015: 222,875
2016: 233,430
2017: 245,200

All other expatriate population

2015: 2,223,800
2016: 2,465,170
2017: 2,731,255

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Source: Gulf News