09 December 2015
JEDDAH -- Saudi Arabia's population is expected to cross 37 million by 2025, according to the estimates of the Central Department of Statistics & Information.
The capital Riyadh now accommodates nearly 10 million (9.45 million to be exact) while the holy city of Makkah has gained the status of the second largest populated city after Riyadh.
According to official figures issued by the Central Department of Statistics & Information, the Kingdom's population has crossed 30 million with Saudis accounting for 20 million.
After 10 years, the number of Saudis will increase to 24 million. The department indicated that the population will cross the barrier of 37 million by 2025 with the influx of a large number of foreign workers.
The Makkah region will host the largest number of foreign workers from different countries (4 million), followed by Riyadh region (more than 3 million).
Saudi Arabia witnessed a population explosion following its oil boom in the 1970s. Since then a large number of expatriate workers have come to the Kingdom to participate in the country's massive development projects including the construction of infrastructure facilities.
The population of Saudis rose considerably from 7 million in 1974 to 20 million in 2014. Analysts said increase in the Kingdom's population was quite natural following the oil boom that began during the time of King Faisal with the arrival of a large number of foreign workers.
Kharkhir and Harth in the south have the lowest number of expatriate workers, the department said. Kharkhir, which is close to the Empty Quarter, the second largest desert in the world and is located in the Najran region has an expat population of 330. The number of expats in Harth, which is in Jazan region, is 780.
The government has embarked on a number of development projects including railways that would be linked with the GCC railway system shortly. GCC officials have completed the study on the joint railway system that begins from Kuwait, passes by Dammam and Bahrain before entering Qatar through Salwa border. It will also connect the UAE and Oman.
The GCC rail system will have a total length of 2,116 km with 663 km passing through the Kingdom. Experimental operation of the railway will start by the end of 2016, said Mohammed Al-Suwaiket, president of Saudi Railway Organization.
The metro project in Riyadh is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Covering 176 km, the metro will link different parts of the capital city through 85 stations, bringing about a dramatic change in the public transport system. It is the largest development project witnessed by Riyadh so far. The 480-km Haramain Railway linking Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah will be launched shortly.
© The Saudi Gazette 2015