The UAE and Qatar are believed to have recorded the world’s highest population growth rate of more than 10 per cent annually during 2000-2010 mainly because of an economic upsurge and a revision of their number in the UAE.
Official data showed Qatar had the highest rate of 10.71 per cent, followed by the UAE at 10.68 per cent during that period.
The rate is nearly five times the average Arab population growth of 2.38 per cent and six times the average global growth of just below two per cent.
The figures by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary fund (AMF), a key Arab League organization, showed Qatar’s population more than doubled from around 614,000 at the end of 2000 to 1,699 million at the end of 2010. The UAE’s population soared from 2.99 million to 8.26 million in the same period.
“At that rate, I think Qatar and the UAE had the most rapid population growth in the world…you can attribute this to a massive influx of foreigners into the two countries due to the oil boom,” an Abu Dhabi-based economist said.
“In the UAE, there is another factor which is that authorities have massively revised up the population over the past three years perhaps because of fresh data obtained through more accurate counts.”
The report showed most of the increase in the UAE’s population was during 2000-2008 as growth sharply slowed down in the following years.
The population soared by 7.4 per cent annually to 4.1 million at the end of 2005, by 21.9 per cent to five million at the end of 2006 and by nearly 24 per cent to 6.2 million at the end of 2007. Growth shot up by nearly 29 per cent to 8.07 million in 2008 before it slackened to about 1.6 per cent to 8.20 million in 2009 and only around 0.7 per cent in 2010, according to the report.
The AMF put the total Arab population at 351.8 million at the end of 2010, nearly 1.62 per cent up from 2009, when it stood at 346.2 million.
A breakdown showed Egypt remained the most populated Arab nation, with around 78.6 million. It was followed by Sudan with 41.7 million, Algeria with nearly 35.8 million, Iraq with 33.4 million and Morocco with 31.8 million.
The population stood at 27.5 million in Saudi Arabia, 23.1 million in Yemen, 20.6 million in Syria, 10.5 million in Somalia and 10.4 million in Tunisia.