08 August 2017

Expats now make up 91.6 percent of Dubai's population, and there are currently more than three males to every female living in the emirate, according to a new study by the United Arab Emirates University.

The paper by Dr Fayez Elessawy, a researcher at the Department of Geography and Urban Planning at the Al Ain-based institution’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, analysed how population growth of 1,000 percent in just 40 years has made Dubai the most heavily-populated city in the UAE and one of the fastest-growing in the world.

The paper titled ‘The Boom: Population and Urban Growth of Dubai City’, used analytical and catorgraphic techniques to map the city's growth from a land mass of just 54 square kilometres in 1975 to 977 square kilometres in 2015, as it underwent a "population explosion" that saw the number of people living in the emirate doubling four times within a 30-year period. At its peak between 2005-15, Dubai's population grew by 109,000 people per year.

This was largely the result of migration into Dubai, meaning that its make-up is different to many global cities.

“The effect of foreign immigration in great numbers to the city has left a noticeably unbalanced population composition," Dr Elessawy said.

"About 85 percent of the population of Dubai is male and the gender ration is as high as 315 males per every 100 females."

And while recognising that the influx of immigrants and expatriates into Dubai is “not recent”, Dr Elessawy’s research found that the number of non-nationals living in Dubai rose from 132,371 (72.3 percent of the total population) in 1975 to more than 2.1 million (91.6 per cent) 40 years later.

Dr Elessawy's research argued that this immigration has had its benefits, especially as it is "pushing the development wheel and speeding the growth of its urban built-up area”.

© Zawya 2017