Demographics of Saudi Arabia

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Demographics of Saudi Arabia, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Saudi Arabia's 2005 population is estimated to be about 26.5 million; including about 5.5 million resident foreigners. Until the 1960s, most of the population was nomadic or seminomadic; due to rapid economic and urban growth, more than 95% of the population now is settled. Some cities and oases have densities of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer (2,600/mile²).

Saudi Arabia is known as the birthplace of Islam, which in the century following Muhammad's death in 632 A.D. spread west to Spain and east to India. Islam obliges all Muslims to make the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once during their lifetime if they are able to do so. The cultural environment in Saudi Arabia is highly conservative; the country adheres to a strict interpretation of Islamic religious law (Shari'a). Cultural presentations must conform to narrowly defined standards of ethics. Men and women are not permitted to attend public events together and are segregated in the work place.

Most Saudis are ethnically Arab. Some are of mixed ethnic origin and are descended from Turks, Iranians, Indonesians, Indians, Africans, and others, most of whom immigrated as pilgrims and reside in the Hijaz region along the Red Sea coast. Many Arabs from nearby countries are employed in the kingdom. There also are significant numbers of Asian expatriates mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines. There are less than 100,000 Westerners in Saudi Arabia, most of whom live in private compounds in few cities such as Dhahran and Ras Tanura. Both government policies and Islamic law prohibit non-Muslims from living in Mecca and al-Medinah.


note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2005 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 38.2% (male 5,149,960/female 4,952,138)
15-64 years: 59.4% (male 8,992,348/female 6,698,633)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 334,694/female 289,826) (2005 est.)

Median age

total: 21.28 years male: 22.84 years female: 19.28 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate

2.31% (2005 est.)

Birth rate

29.56 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate

2.62 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate

3.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.34 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.16 male(s)/female
total population: 1.21 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 13.24 deaths/1,000 live births male: 15.19 deaths/1,000 live births female: 11.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.46 years
male: 73.46 years
female: 77.55 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.05 children born/woman (2005 est.)


noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian

Ethnic groups

Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%


Islam is the state religion. The percentage of Muslim citizens is 100%. Sunni represent approximately 89% while Shiites represent approximately 11% of the population. Most Shiites live in the Eastern Province and are concentrated in small cities and villages such as Qatif.

Languages: Arabic. English is commonly used.

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.7%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.)

External links

  1. International Religious Freedom Report 2002
  2. International Religious Freedom Report 2004
  3. CIA World factbook 2005: Saudi Arabia

pt:Demografia da Arábia Saudita