A study looking at the population and urban growth of Dubai has revealed that the city has been one of the fastest growing cities in the world, with a population growth of 1,000 per cent in just 40 years.
“The research project is focused on the growth of Dubai, which has seen a rapid transformation, with the population of non-nationals living in Dubai rising from 132,371 in 1975 to more than 2.1 million people 40 years later in 2015,” said Dr Fayez Elessawy, a researcher at UAE University (UAEU), who led the study.
“The study also found that Dubai has one of the highest annual jump in population with a 6.5 per cent growth rate from 2005 to 2015 when it reached 2.1 million. If the numbers remain that way, the population of Dubai will more than double by 2027, reaching around five million,” he added.
Elessawy explained that the population growth was mainly due to immigration, rather than a natural increase in the population.
“The natural increase in population has declined sharply from 26.2 per 1,000 people in 1985 to 12.1 per 1,000 people in 2015. These declining and low rates make it impossible for natural increase to be responsible for the great increase in the population of Dubai. It is a secondary factor compared to the flow of immigration,” he said.
Elessawy said that good planning by the Government of Dubai had been able to manage the rapid population growth, but did note that there would be challenges in the future if the population did reach five million.
“There has been a great wisdom with the Government of Dubai: they built the infrastructure and facilities to be able to cope with the rising number of people and so, because of these newcomers, Dubai didn’t suffer from problems.
“Dubai continues to grow because it is a very attractive prospect for immigrants, people who have moved to the city have found an excellent environment for living and building their future,” he added.
“The Government of Dubai has also been very encouraging for people to come and invest in, and this has created a lot of opportunities and growth,” he said.
Elessawy said that the built-up area of Dubai has also seen a large growth due to the rising population.
“The total [built-up] area of Dubai was 54 sq km in 1975, which grew to 977 sq km in 2015, and this means that there has also been a great urban expansion as well.