Mecca Population 2019

Mecca is a city located in Saudi Arabia. This city is the capital of the Makkah Region, and it is most known for being the holiest city of the Islamic religion. The population is 1,675,368, and with millions of Muslims visiting each year, it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

City Size and Population Density

The city of Mecca encompasses a considerable surface area which comes to a total of 760 square kilometers (290 square miles) for the city proper. The metropolitan area expands out to 1,200 kilometers squared (500 square miles). The population density of Mecca is approximately 2,200 residents living per square kilometer (5,700 residents per square mile).

Mecca Demographics

Because Mecca is a city of Islam -which is enforced by strict laws- non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. The majority of residents reside in what is known as the Old City. Most of the workers are employed in the Hajj Industry.

Both people that live in the city and tourists come from different backgrounds and ethnicities. This includes people from South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The city also has a large number of Burmese residents, with approximately 250,000 contributing to the overall population.

Mecca History

People of Islam believe that Mecca was first inhabited by the descendants of Ishmael. Throughout its early history, Mecca has been considered an integral center of trade - but this is somewhat disputed among scholars. In its earliest years, tribes would travel to Mecca annually to pay homage to the shrine, drive from the Zamzam Well, resolve debts, trade, and arbitrate disputes.

Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 but later emigrated as the Muslims and Quraysh continued to fight. In 628, Muhammad attempted to enter Mecca but was not allowed. Muhammad later came back with 10,000 of his men, and the city eventually surrendered. At that time, Muhammad declared peace and amnesty for all residents. All pagan imagery was destroyed and it was dedicated to become a place to worship God.

In the 1800s, the First Saudi State captured Mecca and held it for ten years. It was also during the 1800s and early 1900s that cholera outbreaks from the pilgrims entering the company were at their worst. It was during the 1924 Battle of Mecca that the city was incorporated into Saudi Arabia. During this time, the most of the city was demolished and rebuilt. This has continued throughout the rule of Saudi Arabia. Since 1985, approximately 95% of historic buildings were destroyed. Much of this demolition was a result of new construction, including hotels, housing, and other infrastructure.

Mecca is considered to be the holiest center in Islam and millions of Muslims come from all over the world during the two pilgrimages: the Umrah and the Hajj. The city is home to the largest mosque in the world and it continues to evolve. The annual pilgrimages support the economy with the major influx of tourists and pilgrimage partakers. However, there are other important industries as well, including carpentry, iron manufacturing, copper, and banks. Because of the annual pilgrimages, the city has a rich cultural and historical heritage and is considered to be the most diverse city in the Muslim world.

Mecca Population Growth

The population of Mecca has seen steady growth throughout the years. Its role as a holy city of Muslims not only attracts millions of visitors, but many of these visitors choose to become residents. The city’s expansion to include highways, shopping centers, and many important industries makes it a prosperous city that appeals to new residents, so continued population should be expected into the future. Based on recent growth rate percentages, Mecca is on track to see a 2-5% annual increase in population.

Mecca Population in 2018Source: By Rowan5j [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Mecca Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
20352,521,4371.17%142,153
20302,379,2841.41%160,704
20252,218,5801.67%176,474
20202,042,1061.86%37,218
20192,004,8882.79%209,039
20151,795,8493.08%252,926
20101,542,9233.08%217,301
20051,325,6222.57%158,046
20001,167,5762.48%134,468
19951,033,1083.83%176,855
1990856,2535.51%201,478
1985654,7755.51%154,033
1980500,7425.51%117,854
1975382,8887.11%111,241
1970271,6477.41%81,654
1965189,9933.93%33,294
1960156,6990.56%4,328
1955152,3710.56%4,207
1950148,1640.00%
Mecca Population Growth

Mecca's 2019 population is now estimated at 2,004,888. In 1950, the population of Mecca was 148,164. Mecca has grown by 209,039 since 2015, which represents a 2.79% 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 Mecca, which typically includes Mecca's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Data Sources
  1. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations

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