Abu Dhabi’s population surged by around 7.8 per cent to gain nearly 153,000 people in mid 2011 and expatriates remained a majority in the oil-rich emirate.
From around 1.967 million in mid 2010, the emirate’s population increased to their highest level of 2.120 million in mid 2011, according to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED).
“The emirate's total population amounted to 2.120 million people in mid-2011 compared to 1.967 million in mid-2010, marking an increase by 7.8 per cent,” it said in a report on the emirate’s socio-economic developments.
It showed that in 2011 the distribution of population by gender revealed that imbalance between males and females continued in favor of males as they accounted for nearly 70.7 per cent of the total population.
Data also show that gradual imbalance continued to characterize the population distribution by nationality in favor of non-citizens, where citizens formed 20.7 per cent of the total population in mid-2011, the report said.
The report covered the population in Abu Dhabi city, the eastern oasis town of Al Ain and the western region.
While the emirate’s total population exceeded that of Dubai, Abu Dhabi city remained far outnumbered by Dubai as the capital population was estimated at around 1.6 million in mid 2011 compared with more than two million in Dubai.
Abu Dhabi and other emirates have recorded one of the world’s highest population growth rates over the past two decades because of high birth rates among Emiratis and a steady influx of foreigners into the country.
Official data showed Abu Dhabi’s population grew by an annual average of around 7.7 per cent during 2005-2011.
But growth remained below the record high rate of 10.4 per cent during the first oil boom of 1975-1985, when a surge in oil exports allowed Abu Dhabi and other Gulf crude producers to launch one of the largest construction drives in history, resulting in a massive influx of expatriates in the absence of sufficient local skilled labour.