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Dubai Population and Nationalities

14 September 2015

With a free and a liberal environment in this economy friendly country, UAE has mapped itself as a leading cosmopolitan hub in the world. Made up of seven emirates, the oil rich Abu Dhabi is the biggest and also the capital city of UAE. Until 2008, it was credited with being the most populated city in UAE but there has been a shift with Dubai becoming the most populous city since 2009. Situated in the northern coastline of the UAE, the place has witnessed a phenomenal transition from a traditional city to a global business hub.

Owing to the increase of investment and job opportunities in Dubai, there is a considerable number of expatriate population contributing to the total population of UAE with the majority of the expatriates residing in Dubai. In 2013, the total population of UAE was recorded to be 9.2 million. Out of the 9.2 million, the expatriates contributed to around 7.8 million with the Emirati Nationals holding a population share of 1.4 million. With a vast demographic variation, there are a varied number of nationalities who form a part of the majority of the expats in UAE especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

In the recent years, the European community is making a remarkable presence in the resident population scale of Dubai owing to the liberal and urban lifestyle of Dubai. But the majority of the expat population is still dominated by the South East Asian countries especially India and Pakistan. The group of these South Asian countries alone contributes to around 58% of the total population of UAE. The western population shares to around 8% of the overall population of the country.

Dubai population

The classifieds of the countries listed below will present a clear picture of the number of residents from different countries residing in UAE in particular with Dubai.


With a population scale of around 40,000, the American nationals share a major portion of the Western population in UAE. The majority of the US nationals reside in Dubai and enjoy good and white collared jobs in the UAE.


Marking a remarkable presence of the Europeans living in Dubai, the British had a substantial population number of around 240,000 as per the year 2012. Out of the estimated number of British community in the country, the majority of the people resided in Dubai with many enjoying lucrative positions and jobs in UAE. The given figures also include the Scottish people living in the country. With such a vast representation in the country, there are a number of social clubs for the community as well as British schools run on the lines of the UK curriculum.


The Canadians also have a population share of around 40,000 in the country. With so many Canadians in the country, they have an active social life also including the Canadian Club in Dubai. The Canadian Business Council is also functioning in Dubai to strengthen the business and trade ties between Canada and Middle East while also guiding Canadian people who plan to start up a business in Dubai or other trade options.


This is the largest group from the South Asian countries which gives a major contribution to the overall population of UAE making a great impact on the demographic patterns of the country. The Indians have been living in the country for decades with great contributions to the business and economic development of UAE. Indians have an overall population of around 2million in the country comprising to 42% of total population of UAE. The sizeable number is well represented in almost all the spheres of work with a majority of the population serving in the manufacturing industries. Most the Indian population lives in the main city areas of Dubai like Deira, Bur Dubai and Quasais. The majority of the Indian population comes from the Southern state of Kerela. Besides the working classes, there are also some big business houses in the city having a vast chain of businesses across UAE.


There are around 7000 Australians in UAE, almost 3000 of who reside in Dubai.

French and German

The French and German both contribute around 10000 each to the population of UAE with a sizeable number found in Dubai.

There are a number of social circles, schools and French restaurants in Dubai giving a remarkable French feel in the city. The French companies also have a significant business contribution with around 150 enterprises based in Dubai. Developed as a cultural and language learning centre, the Alliance Françoise is located in Oud Metha in the heart of Dubai offering diversified certification language courses in French.

The German community is also giving its share of literary contribution with a German school being run in Dubai.


With over a population of around 180,000, the Chinese community also has a great presence in the UAE especially in the business and the trading markets of the country. Showcasing the Chinese products and giving an impetus to the business, a huge shopping complex named Dragon Mart has been developed in Dubai which is a home of a great number of Chinese products. This huge shopping complex has around 4000 shops exhibiting a number of Chinese products ranging from curtains to stationeries; furniture to toys, with the list of the products going on.

Out of the total population of 180,000 in UAE, the majority of Chinese population with around 150,000 resides in Dubai. Keeping in mind the ample number of Chinese in the city, there are a number of Chinese restaurants catering to the tastes of Chinese in Dubai.


The Iranians show a remarkable presence in UAE with around 400,000 living in the country.


Out of the 4000 Japanese living in Dubai, around 2000 live alone in Dubai only. The Japanese contribute significantly to the business sectors with some of the business conglomerate and companies operating in the country. Besides the business people, the other expats from the country are employed in white collared jobs enjoying good positions in UAE. The Japanese School is also run in Dubai following the Japanese curriculum.


This is another South Asian country which has a substantial number contributing to the overall population charts of UAE. Pakistanis contribute to around 21% of the total UAE population being around 1.2million in numbers. It is one of the largest diaspora group settled outside their home country with the majority hailing from the various parts of the country like Sind, Balochistan and the other regions of the country. With the total Pakistani population scattered across the Emirates, the population of around 400,000 resides in Dubai. Talking economically, Pakistanis can be seen in diversified fields varying from the average workforce to highly qualified professionals.


Hailing from the city of Philippines, the Filipinos constitute of the total population of 700,000 with around 450,000 living in Dubai. They give a major share of 21.3% in the total population of Dubai itself.


Contributing to a substantial amount to South Asian labor force, there are around 600,000 Bangladeshis living in UAE with the population found in various parts of the seven emirates. Quite a few numbers of the Bangladeshis population reside in Dubai as well. Based on the Bangladeshi curriculum, there are a number of Bangladeshi schools being run in the UAE.


With an estimated population of around 18000, there are quite a few numbers of Russian expatriates in the UAE who have nestled in the country attracted by the liberal and luxury lifestyle and inviting work opportunities. Besides the Russian population, there are around 55000 expatriates from other former Soviet Republics. Russians have developed a social life in the UAE with various organizations and groups functioning for the well being of the community like the Russian Business Council in Dubai and Northern Emirates.

South Africans

As per the 2009 analysis, the estimated population of South Africans in the UAE is approximately said to be between 50000 and 100,000. With most of the South Africans holding high professional qualifications, they enjoy good positions in the work sector in UAE with a nice lifestyle. It is believed that only 15% of the South African expats are placed on the basic level jobs while the rest of the immigrant influx working on good positions in the UAE.


With most of the Malaysian expat population living in the cosmopolitan city of Dubai, there are around 6000 Malaysians to be residing in UAE.


This is another large immigrant community whose recorded population in UAE is around 125,000 in number. Out of this huge number, an estimated population of 75,000 Nepalese people live in Dubai mostly seen working in the construction and security sector as security guards.


Having a total population of 3500 in UAE, around 2000 Italians reside in Dubai. The Italians nationals have a well knit social life in Dubai with a number of social groups and clubs organizing a number of events at different levels. Talking about the famous Italian food, it is hugely popular in Dubai.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries

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