Dubai Population 2018

Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates and is the capital city of the Emirate of Dubai. Dubai is located along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, at the southwest corner of the Arabian Gulf. This global city has become known as the Middle East’s business hub and for being a city of rich culture, and it is also renowned for its beaches, sunny weather, deserts and hospitality. Its diverse and fast-growing economy has led to incredible growth through the decades. In 2016, the population of Dubai is over 2.5 million, and the city is expected to see continued steady growth in the years ahead.

Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and it is the second largest by area, measuring 4,114 square kilometers, and coming second only to Abu Dhabi, which comprises 87% of the UAE’s total area and shares borders with Dubai.

City Size and Population Density

The city limits are roughly 35 square kilometers with a metropolis area at a total of 4,114 square kilometers. The population density in the metro area is approximately 762.6 individuals living per square kilometer.

Dubai Demographics

In terms of population, Dubai has an estimated population of 2,504,000 in 2016. This makes it the most populated emirate in the UAE, surpassing Abu Dhabi which, despite having a larger area, has the third largest population in the UAE that is estimated at just over 1.1 million.

Dubai’s ratio of males to females is skewed, with approximately 75% of the population being male.

The population is also composed of just 15% native residents, with the remaining 85% being composed of expatriates. About 85% of the expatriate population – or 71% of the total population -- is Asian, primarily from India (accounting for 51%). Other Asians in Dubai are originally from Pakistan (17%), Bangladesh (9%) and the Philippines (3%). The city also has a high number of Somalis, and British expatriates make up the largest population of Western expatriates.

The official religion of Dubai is Islam, but the area is tolerant and respectful of other religions, as well. Minority religions practiced within Dubai include Christianity, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddism, amongst others.

In terms of languages, Arabic is the official language and English is often spoken as well. Additional common spoken languages include Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Tagalog, Persian, Chinese and others.

Life expectancy in Dubai and the UAE is 76 years for males and 79 years for female, according to 2015 WHO data. Depression has a significant contribution to the life expectancy, followed by a high-rate of deaths caused by auto accidents, which was calculated at 615 deaths per 100,000 people across the UAE in 2010. In 2013, the total expenditure for healthcare in the UAE was 3.2% of the GDP.

Dubai History

Dubai was first established in 1833 when approximately 800 settlers from the Bani Yas tribe arrived at Dubai creek. This harbor led to an economy that thrived on fishing, sea trade, pearling and, eventually, led to its status as a port city. By the 1930s Dubai's population was nearly 20,000, and this number continued to grow rapidly.

The story behind the name of Dubai has been questionable. Some say that the name comes from a word that means money, because it was thought that those who lived there had a lot of money. Others have speculated that the name comes from the word “Yadub,” which translates to creek and is befitting of the area which splits the city of Dubai into two areas: Deira and Bur Dubai.

On the Deira side of the creek, the largest market in the area was set up with approximately 350 shops, bringing visitors in to Dubai and giving an indication of its future economic status.

Through the years, Dubai has experienced a thriving economy and steady population growth. In 2013, Dubai was named as the 7th most visited city in the world for its ancient and modern attractions, which include the Deira Clocktower, the Burj Al Arab hotel (which is the 3rd tallest in the world) and the Hatta Heritage Village. Dubai has also been called the “shopping capital of the Middle East” because of its 70 shopping centers, including the largest in the world, Dubai Mall.

Dubai Population Growth

Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, increasing at a rate of 10.7% annually. The beauty and tolerance of the city make it a prime choice for expatriates, and the growing economy and availability of jobs makes it an appealing place to settle. The city was chosen as the site for Expo 2020, an event which could potentially lead to over 270,000 more jobs, which could further enhance future growth.

By 2020, the city is expected to experience rapid growth with the population estimated to reach over 2.8 million, while 2030 could see as many as 3.4 million people. Because of its political stability, thriving economy and diversity, Dubai should have no problem keeping up with the rapid rate of growth over the next few decades.

Dubai Population in 2018Source: [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Dubai Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
20353,526,2541.24%211,269
20303,314,9851.39%220,342
20253,094,6431.46%216,299
20202,878,3441.66%92,968
20182,785,3765.07%384,309
20152,401,0675.07%526,338
20101,874,7298.14%606,974
20051,267,7556.93%360,784
2000906,9716.90%257,216
1995649,7556.57%177,054
1990472,7016.52%128,090
1985344,6116.26%90,250
1980254,3618.95%88,660
1975165,70117.85%92,821
197072,88010.89%29,414
196543,4665.31%9,907
196033,5595.31%7,653
195525,9065.31%5,906
195020,0000.00%
Dubai Population Growth

Dubai's 2018 population is now estimated at 2,785,376. In 1950, the population of Dubai was 20,000. Dubai has grown by 384,309 since 2015, which represents a 5.07% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Dubai, which typically includes Dubai's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Data Sources
  1. Government of Dubai - Dubai population and vital statistics
  2. Dubai Online - Population information and statistics
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations