Population

Current Population Statistics

According to the Dubai Statistics Center (part of the Government of Dubai) the current resident population of Dubai is 3,458,560 (figure last updated on Thursday 2nd of December 2021).

Data from the Dubai Statistics Center website shows that the resident population of Dubai at the end of 2018 was 3,192,275 while the active daytime population was 4,382,275.

The active daytime population comprises residents plus persons working in Dubai but living outside the city, tourists, sailors and other temporary residents. Many Dubai workers choose to live in the neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah where rents are significantly cheaper.

The graph and table below show the resident, temporary, and active daytime (resident + temporary) population of Dubai by year from 2016 to 2018.

YearPermanent ResidentsTemporary ResidentsActive Daytime Population
20162,698,6001,110,0003,808,600
20172,976,4551,186,5654,163,020
20183,192,2751,190,0004,382,275

Demographics

Dubai is unusual in that the majority of its population is comprised of expatriates. Most are low income workers from the countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iran, Egypt, Nepal, and China. There are fewer, but significant, numbers of professional workers from countries such as the UK, South Africa, the US, Canada, France, and Australia.

Indian worker at Dubai Fruit and Vegetable Market
Indian Worker, Dubai Fruit and Vegetable Market

70 percent of the permanent resident population at the end of 2018 was male (2,233,390 out of 3,192,275) while 30 percent was female (958,885 out of 3,192,275). The gender distortion is mainly due to the large number of foreign male workers that do not relocate with their family. Many are construction workers, typically living in labour camps.

YearMalesFemalesTotal
1975128,82154,366183,187
1980187,71488,587276,301
1985247,179123,609370,788
1993406,128204,798610,926
1995478,209211,211689,420
2000611,799250,588862,387
2005989,305332,1481,321,453
20061,073,485348,3271,421,812
20071,164,576365,2161,529,792
20081,263,130382,8431,645,973
20091,369,740401,2381,770,978
20101,485,046420,4301,905,476
20111,515,770487,4002,003,170
20121,547,135558,7402,105,875
20131,579,145634,7002,213,845
20141,613,175714,1752,327,350
20151,703,355743,3202,446,675
20161,888,520810,0802,698,600
20172,088,870887,5852,976,455
20182,233,390958,8853,192,275

Growth Rate

The growth rate of Dubai’s resident population at the end of 2018 was 7.2 percent.

Comments and Additional Information

  1. It was a great pleasure to read the debate about the Dubai,(living
    Conditions and families,personal freedom ,living families.
    It is really great place to live.
    Freedom for
    Living with families
    Facilities
    Best maintained law and order.we can compre Dubai with any big cities in whole of the world I had been living in Dubai since early nineties

    Reply
  2. I travel to Dubai often. Very beautiful there – it is one of my favourite places in the whole world… I must agree with the info above, it is unbelievable how many Indians and Pakistanis are over there. I think its the first things that you pay attention at. Second thing – only every 10th is a woman…

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  3. It would be more beneficial for other websites to reference this post by updating the table and graph. 2014 was almost 4 years ago. It is a bit out of date.

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  4. Dubai is full of criminals. The government spends too much money on the style and makes the city look too showy. They are less concerned about the important things like healthcare, education, and public safety. Furthermore, the government is building too rapidly, when there’s no demand for residential. In response, the city has to do is to lower the price for apartments, which allows the poor people to move in. Therefore, as more poor people move in, the more the crime.

    Another major problem for the city is how dependent it is on the oil industry. If the oil industry collapses, Dubai and every other major city in the Middle East will hit bankruptcy.

    Reply
    • Do u actually live in Dubai? Better still, have u even visited the place? So Dubai is full of criminals, all poor people commit crime and Dubai relies on the oil industry. I’ve never read such garbage in all my life.

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    • Based on your response. It is very much apparent that you don’t live in Dubai as your assumptions are not true.
      Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world and a top destination for tourists.

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    • Only 3% of the total income of Dubai comes from oil.

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    • Lucas,

      May I ask where you are getting your figures from. How many criminals are in Dubai and what does ‘full’ imply in relation to %. Stating something does not indeed make it a fact, so understanding if your comments are supported by real life statistics would be interesting. Or are you just another individual basing your outlook on life on your meagre a short sighted bigoted beliefs?

      Surely freezones and the encouragement of various sectors such as Tech, Medical, Financial and Media are all moves away from the dependance on oil or rather the dependance on other Emirates that depend on oil. It would of course be interesting to see what your ideal urbanisation plan wold be. Singapore, Amsterdam, Legoland?

      I agree that housing is a major problem, as it is in other major cities such as London and New York. Affordable housing does need to be produced and a system as such should be implemented to avoid ‘poorer’ areas being designated almost like shanty towns.

      Rather than hating a ‘concept’ and claiming that the US is the best place to live, maybe grow up a little and add some constructive comments. There is not one best place, but many, depending on what your requirements are. I think it is very ill informed to say that any city in America is better than living in a desert in the middle of the middle east. How do you feel about Vegas and the Nevada desert. Clearly you have an anti Middle East sentiment. have you been to Giza, Casablanca, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Sharm El Sheikh?

      What I would say, is that I pretty much guarantee and city with small minded people such as yourself, well, would be a city I would recommend most avoid.

      Luckily there are not many Lucas’s in the world…..

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    • Dubai is one of the safest countries in the world. Maybe you are just blind and cannot notice where the money is spent.

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    • I’m a foreigner, I’ve lived in Dubai for 13 years now, never have I heard or seen about any crimes happening or criminals on the streets, my children (female 14 and male 18) are some of the smartest people I know, my daughter has studied her whole life here and my son attended all of his primary education, middle school, and high school here, and is now In a great college. Maybe you’re too concerned about getting attention. You are less concerned about what the truth is. Peace out fella.

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    • Lucas – Why don’t you first spend the time to get your facts right before making so many dimwitted comments! I have lived in many places around the world, including US that you so highly talk about. While Dubai might have some shortcommings it also has tons of great things about it.

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    • Jesus, I really wonder what happened to you. Are you talking about Chicago or Los Angeles or maybe Miami? All that you said is applicable to 80% of all major cities in the US. Dubai and the UAE have public hospitals, anyone working in the UAE needs to have medical coverage by LAW from the employer. If an employer violates this law they face problems. California has been bankrupt for many years. Their electricity system collapsed years ago. They violate human rights and the green economy.

      Who told you Dubai depends on oil? Dubai had never oil and does not depend on oil at all. You have no clue what you talk about. The crime rate in Dubai is the lowest worldwide since people do not want to face jail here. Even amongst the low-income, crime is minimal. Show me one place in US where I can leave my wallet on a table in a restaurant or my mobile. It would disappear in 2 seconds. Never had this problem in Dubai and never had anything stolen in 10 years.

      Enjoy your life in the most horrible country on earth with the highest crime rate for a first world country.

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    • You are completely wrong. I live in Dubai and I know more than you.

      The healthcare companies in Dubai are perfect and so are the hospitals. Dubai is not a bad country and many people from Europe, Asia, and America go to live there.

      Also I feel a sense of racism in your comment. Are you trying to say that Dubai is bad because its in the Middle East? If so, you are not a very nice person.

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    • This is the most inaccurate comment I have ever seen about Dubai.
      1. Criminality is not a problem, with a crime rate twice lower than the global average.
      2. Criminality has never been linked to income / richness / poorness, just FYI ! Especially in Dubai where the poorest of the country are really just here to work hard, gain a minimum wage and help their family back home.
      3. Dubai economy doesn’t rely on petrol, as it has been well diversified since the 50s. It would certainly not bankrupt for that reason. The same is not true for the other Emirates though, I give you that.

      In short, I wonder if you have ever been to the UAE, or to the Middle East even, cause you have gross misconceptions about the country !

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    • I understand that in Dubai there are upwards of half million Sunnis living there with another half million Shiites without killing one another. How is this possible in today’s world? Are my numbers wrong?

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    • Absolutele rubbish, on every count. Dubai actually has very little oil. In fact, income for the Dubai government comes from taxes. Yes, taxes. From tourism and VAT, which is currently 5%. Crime is extremely low. Mainly because of the fines etc and the strict visa conditions.

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    • GOOD

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    • Feel pity for you, you definitely have to get out of your own world and see Dubai.
      Dubai is not big that is true, but it is the safest city ever in the world now. There are poor labors that is true, but they are awesome human being who always return wallet or phones to anyone who lost it. Women get out walking on the beach by midnight will never have anything happen. If you dont have change or balance to pay parking any Emiratees will help without hesitation.
      If your car stuck anywhere, everyone gonna offer you help.
      My 5 years in Dubai, hope you can experience Dubai before you assume.

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    • You are wrong
      This city is most law aware city in the world. The law is same for everyone, and people are law obedient. Poor people are not always criminals my friend. If you compare other cities in the world Dubai is much more peaceful. And you are wrong

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  5. Dubai is for 7 months a year in Hell in the Cell – nothing to do accept to stay in Dubai Mall – Metro is a desaster, full of people from India and Pakistan Visibly they have no job and just rounding around in groups. Goverment lost control about expatriets and it is just a question of time when serious problems would apear. People have no culture and rules, 95% have no money. Just ask them who of them was on top of Burj of Khalifa and result will come.

    Reply
    • Bruno.
      1. Read more books (for your own culture growth).
      2. Learn to write properly.
      3. Stop spreading your lies around.
      4. Find your RTA metro gold pass

      Reply
  6. Dubai is going to get mammothly huge in the next decades. Sits strategically in the middle of Europe, Africa, and Asia, with billions of people surrounding it. Like Chicago location-wise, but on a gigantic scale, accommodating three gigantic continents with billions of people. Superb location for business and industry, prime location for sunny weather and blue-water beaches, and excellent location to raise a family. Good luck to US cities competing with crumbling infrastructure, high murder rates, and gangs running their streets.

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    • You obviously have not been to the United States. U.S. cities have a rich history and have well diversified economies. Only a tiny number of cities have high murder rates, and you rarely ever see gangs running the streets.

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      • Rich history! You only finished murdering the indigenous population in the 1880s. Not much history there.

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      • Are you ok? You really are very oblivious about what’s happening in the world. I think you’re getting confused between UAE and US, or you need a geography class. My son is giving some. You may want to join.

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      • History? US? 100 years maybe? Check the murder rates in the US and compare to UAE and then let me know please.

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    • Excellent location to raise children? Probably the worst location I can imagine. You have no free education as in Europe and where shall your children play? In the dunes? On Sheikh Zayed Road? You dont have a nice childhood in Dubai.

      Maybe better than USA regarding crime but not a place to be happy with a western mindset.

      Reply
    • I have been living in UAE for the past 20 years, you just said the metros are packed with homeless people, well I’m asking you, name a single country in the world without homeless people in metros? And from what I know from living here, 90% of those you saw and met were the working class, the ones employed in engineering and construction fields. Just have a peek into the business class and you would find 100s of Indian and Pakistani owned companies. And one more thing, please stop judging people from there appearance.

      Reply
  7. What is the ratio of men to women in Dubai?

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    • 2.5 to 1

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  8. Been Dubai 3 years in a row It’s such a beautiful country! Who really cares if Los Angeles is bigger than Dubai seriously?

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    • The United States is the best place to live in, and anywhere in the United States is better in some city in the middle of a desert in the Middle East.

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      • You might want to travel to widen up your horizon for other cultures, my friend. Or, apparently being a very narrow minded person, stay in your closed universe and enjoy it. Billions of people do not believe the US is the best place to live in for good reasons.

        Reply
      • In the middle of a desert, like Las Vegas or Utah, for example?

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  9. I think it is actually quite interesting that Dubai’s population has grown rapidly over the last 2 decades.

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  10. There are not 4 million people in Dubai. There are not even 2 million. I was there for a week before the major melt down. A very strange vibe. You felt the money (this is before the collapse) but you also felt a little bit of something that was not quite right. Almost a criminal type of vibe. Dubai sucks!

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    • Dubai does not suck. It is extremely beautiful.

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      • Dubai is the best place ever. I could live there. It is a beautiful country and has amazing mosques.

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    • You can’t just say anything you want. Locals of the country wouldn’t respect you for saying that. Our country did so much for us, and we want everyone to respect our country.

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    • Dubai is awesome

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    • Keep it to yourself mister!

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    • how are you guessing the population of Dubai just like that. I’ve lived in Dubai for 14 of my 15 years of my life and its a beautiful place to be and everyone is just minding their own business and very helpful in every manner.

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  11. Dubai is a very expensive city. Basically a problem for low income people.

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  12. RC, Tony B’s comment was not racist. It was not inflammatory or discriminatory. It was an accurate reflection of the current demographics (although he could extend Indian to Pakistani and Bangladeshi) and is supported by the first paragraph of this page.

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  13. I am a Singaporean of Arab descent. I was in Dubai in 2006. I can say that Dubai does not offer quality of life for low income people. Even a bed space can cause a burnt hole in a low income person’s pocket. Many female Russians work as property agents. The policemen in Dubai too looked like they are from other Arab countries. They don’t negotiate and are very stern. Customer service at police stations is hard to get.

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  14. All of you are wrong. The metropolitan area of New York City has a population of 8 million people. In LA, there are 3 million people in the metropolitan area. I would not consider Riverside, San Bernardino, OC, or Simi Valley to be LA. Those are in the outskirts and people only travel there to work since there’s nothing in those smaller cities. Dubai is a little bigger than Las Vegas but is pretty dense for such a small land area. If you want to talk about big cities, go to New York, Tokyo, or Mexico City. New York is massive, dense, and action-packed 24/7.

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    • The population of the New York metropolitan area is over 20 million. Nothing is close as the suburbs around the city, in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are so interconnected. Dubai is a nice city but is not equipped for massive population growth because of its terrain and geological surface area. It will be interesting to see how they monitor its population control along with the social issues that will inevitably arise with the demands of globalization. Easy to grow when you have un-elected rule until the populace no longer accept it.

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  15. Jeffrey needs to do some travelling. LA has a population of way over 10 million. Dubai is about 2 million people. Women can walk about safely at any time of day or night.

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  16. Get a life Tony – racist remarks such as construction workers being Indian males are unwarranted. Remember, the workers are the ones that have broken their backs to build this city whilst Western rejects like yourself escape to this country and try make a life.

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  17. Dubai has a population of 1.4 million. LA has about 10 million ! You cannot compare these two cities.

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  18. Well, your comments are strangely amazing. Remember we live in a grossly diverse global village, so we should appreciate and fuse our diversity to better enjoy this great wonderful planet.

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  19. I am from LA and for the guy that said Dubai is about the size of Los Angeles, he is dead wrong. Dubai is extremely tiny. It is about 1/100th of Los Angeles. For me to drive from the beginning to the end (zone-wise) from Los Angeles takes 4 hours (no traffic) and with traffic it could be 7 hours. LA is massive.

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    • Well, then, just compare the SIZES. If you divide what you said about the population of LA by 100, you will find that Dubai has a much higher population in terms of size.

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  20. I do not believe there are 1.3 million people in Dubai. Dubai is probaly the size of Los Angeles and Los Angeles has 3 million people. Dubai has a lot of buildings for the little bit of people they have. There is probably 5 million people

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    • The metropolitan area of Los Angeles is about 4,850 square miles (12,561 km2), and the metropolitan area of Dubai is 1,588 sq mi (4,114 km2). Dubai is only 1/4 the size. Thus, outside of Dubai is just desert, meanwhile outside of Los Angeles, it’s rich suburban areas and well maintenanced national parks. Dubai has nothing more than whatever lives in the center of the city, but in Los Angeles, the population of the downtown and the suburbs around LA adds up to roughly 10mil. There’s no comparison.

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      • Have you been living under a rock?

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  21. 90% of Dubai population is expatriate majority of whom are the contructions workers. Yes, almost all the "low income" workers are from the sub-continent, but there are significant/equal/more number of professionals from there aswell. It’s amazing how a website can make such blatantly false statement without realising both it’s implications and checking facts.

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  22. I believe it was the late king of Saudi Arabia, King Faisal, who once spoke in an interview of 78 rapes per hour that occur in the States. Kaylee perhaps needs to travel outside his / her domain to understand that the middle east should not be summed up in a nutshell of women being indoors, while men go scavenging for attacking females, as your Fox News tends to portray. Dubai currently is considered not only the most modern city in the middle east, but compared to the fashion of Milan and Paris, film industry of Europe, friendlier working environment than America, and higher tolerance for a cosmoplitan society than anywhere in the west. It is unfortunate that to date, people in the west — at least those that believe anything their media feeds them and have not travelled outside their country — have backward notions about the rest of the world. I suggest to Kaylee to please consider expanding his / her literature and mediums of knowledge.

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    • Are you going to deny the social issues underneath the surface that are suppressed in a totalitarian society?

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  23. No wonder sex trafficking and rapes occur on a daily basis. They need some women.

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    • I think you should do some googling before you come and post inaccurate and inappropriate messages like that.

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  24. I do not believe that only 1.3 million people live in Dubai. How many tourists or visitors are here at any one time. I live in Miami and am very familiar with Los Angeles , Vegas, New York and travel patterns in other cities like Buenos Aires and London. There are millions of people here at least 4 -6 million. I believe that the population amounts just like the summer temps reported here are manipulated. It is never reported to be over 50C as it means construction must stop and many days its over and the report reads 49. It would be interesting to know the truth. I can definitely without a doubt tell you that there is at least 4 million people plus in this area as I write you. I am not stupid but it amazing how many people say that there is a million people here . I mean come on. Boston and San Francisco have around that amount and they are tiny blobs compared to this.

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  25. As you can see from the statistics Dubai is very much a male society. The distortion is caused by the huge number of construction workers (read Indian males) currently in Dubai.

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