Jeddah is a city that is located in Saudi Arabia. More specifically, it is located in the Hijaz Tihamah region along the Red Sea. The city is home to the largest port on the Red Sea. It is a hub for commercial activity, and it is the second most populous country in Saudi Arabia, with a population estimated around 4.076 million as of 2017.
Only Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh is more populated than Jeddah. The most recent population in 2017 is just over 4 million. Not only is Jeddah the second largest city in Saudi Arabia by population, but it is the 100th largest city in the world by land area. There are over 6,400 people per square mile in this city. Jeddah has been ranked as one of the most innovative cities in Saudi Arabia. In addition to being a commercial center of the country, it is also a passage to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places of Islam. The people of Jeddah primarily speak Hejazi, one of the most recognized Arabic dialects. A large population of expatriates reside in Jeddah.
City Size and Population Density
The city of Jeddah encompasses a total surface area of 1,686 square kilometers (651 square miles). In combination with the growing population of over 3 million residents, this brings the population density to 2,500 individuals residing per square kilometer (6,400 residents per square mile).
Demographics of Jeddah
In terms of religion, most citizens are Sunni Muslims. The government, courts, and civil and criminal laws enforce a moral code established by Shari'ah. The law does not allow other religions' buildings, books, icons and expressions of faith.
The language spoken by most of the population is Arabic.
Ancient artifacts discovered in the area suggest that Jeddah was inhabited as early as the Stone Age. Excavations lead historians to believe that the city was first developed as a fishing hamlet. From its earliest days, Jeddah has always served as an important port in Saudi Arabia.
Throughout early times, Jeddah exchanged hands several times and was under rule by various groups, including Tulunids and Abbasid. In the 1200s, a stone wall was erected to protect Jeddah from attacks by the Portuguese. Parts of the wall can still be seen today.
In the 1500s, Jeddah fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Walls were rebuilt, and gates were built to protect the city. Throughout the 1700s and 1800s, there were several riots, during which many people were killed. In the early 1800s, the city was taken from the Ottoman Empire by the Nedji, and was later captured by Muhammad Ali Pasha to again be under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
Sharif Hussein bin Ali revolted during World War I against the Empire, but soon, Ibn Saud conquered the city, which became part of the Al-Saud dynasty. In the 1940s, the old gates and walls were demolished, but many homes and buildings remain intact, despite a fire that occurred in the 1980s and commercial businesses expressing interest in tearing down these ancient buildings.
Today, the city’s location along the Red Sea makes it a hub for maritime activity, and it is one of the busiest ports in the area. The city has expanded beyond its original boundaries and now is much more modern, bringing in new residents and tourists alike.
Jeddah Population Growth
Jeddah has a widespread population of expatriates who come to the city for the many opportunities that are available there. The population of this city is one of the largest in Saudi Arabia. As the city continues to thrive economically and paint itself as “different” from the rest of Saudi Arabia, the population of over 4 million is expected only to continue to grow larger in the coming years.