Gulf Labour Markets, Migration, and Population (GLMM) Programme

An international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of a major Gulf think tank and a globally renowned academic migration centre.
The programme provides data, analyses, and recommendations contributing to the improvement of understanding and management of
Gulf labour migration, population, and labour markets, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholder.

UAE, Dubai: Estimates of population by nationality (Emiratis/ non-Emiratis) at selected dates (1975-2016)

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Years Emiratis Non-Emiratis Total % non-nationals
1975 50,816 132,371 183,187 72.3
1980 62,516 213,785 276,301 77.4
1985 76,692 294,096 370,788 79.3
1995 107,741 581,679 689,420 84.4
2005 137,573 1,183,880 1,321,453 89.6
2010 168,029 1,737,447 1,905,476 91.2
2014* 212,000 2,115,350 2,327,350 90.9
2015* 222,875 2,223,800 2,446,675 90.9
2016* 233,430 2,465,170 2,698,600 91.3

Source: Dubai Statistics Center

1. Characteristics of data, definitions and population counting operations in the UAE

* Figures since 2014 are estimates for the end of the given year.

The first population census was conducted in 1968 by the Council of Developing Trucial States.
After Independence in 1971, a population census of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was conducted that same year.
The first general population and establishments census in the UAE was conducted in 1975.
The other federal censuses were conducted in 1980, 1985, 1995 and 2005.
Reference days for UAE censuses: 30/12/1975; 15/12/1980, 16/12/1985, 16/12/1995; 29/10/2001; 06/12/2005.
Implementation method: the census was carried out according to de jure methodology, i.e. counting persons using their usual place of residence
Population of reference: Emirati nationals usually residing in the country+
all foreign residents holding a valid residence permit+resident GCC nationals (nationals of other GCC states don’t need a permit to stay in the UAE)

2. Institution which provides data

Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC).

3. Data availability 

2014-2016: data is available in the “Reports” section, “Estimated Population Number by Nationality”
Data is presented in PDF and Excel formats.
Population at census dates: Dubai Statistical Yearbooks, DSC.

Last date of access: February 3, 2018.


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