This paper analyses the demographic imbalance in the UAE and the security threats that it poses. The paper posits that the demographic imbalance in the UAE has become one of the challenging problems that pose a threat to the social, economic, and political future of the country. …
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The paper first looks at the demographic data with regard to nationalities, then proceeds to analyse how the demographic imbalance threatens local community identity, social structure, economic and political future of the UAE.
Demographic data with regard to nationalities and gender
Since 1975, the UAE population composition has experienced rapid transitions. The population has grown more than 10 times over this period with the greatest population growth being that of foreign nationals (Al-Suwaidi, 2011). At 12% of the total population (Al-Khouri, 2010), the number of nationals is extremely low compared to that of expatriates, and certain nationalities are predominant within the demographic structure. Analysing the most recent estimated data for 2010 over a five year period, UAE population was estimated to be 8.5 million in 2010 of which only 950,000 were national citizens while 7.3 million were accounted for by non national residents. In 2005, the nationals were estimated to be around 818,000, which implies that the national population growth was at a 3% growth rate. On the other hand, the foreign nationals who were 3.3 million in 2005, more than doubled over the five year period to 7.3 million (National Bureau of Statistics, 2012; UAE Defence & Security Report , 2011).
Table 1: UAE Population data 2005-2010 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 UAE Nationals 0.82 million 0.85 million 0.88 million 0.9 million 0.93 million 0.95 million Foreign Nationals 3.3 million 4.2 million 5.3 million 7.17 million 7.2 million 7.3 million Figure 1: UAE Citizens versus Foreign citizens Figure 2: Population growth trends 2005-2010; UAE nationals versus foreign nationals (data in millions) It has been predicted that if appropriate correctional measures and policies are not taken to address the trend effectively, then UAE national population is further projected to fall relative to the foreign nationals, grossly impacting the demographic imbalance (Al-Khouri, 2010). With the Economist Intelligence unit (EIU, 2010) having forecasted that the population in the Gulf region will be growing by a third over the next eight years till 2020, this poses a serious challenge to the development of the region in the future and requires strong policies to address the imbalances. Analysing the population composition based on nationalities as presented by Randeree (2009), it can be noted that certain foreign nationals are more predominant than others. The leading nationals are Indians at approximately 36.5% of the population, while the Arabs from other regions and Pakistani nationals follow at 12.7% each. UAE also exhibits a unique structure in its demography with respect to gender - unlike most countries, Emirati male population exceeds the female population, thus by 2010 population estimates there were 479,109 males, while females stood at 468,888 (Randeree, 2012; National Bureau of Statistics, 2012). This implies that ratio of male to female is 1.02 males for every female. The Emirati male to female ratio has been
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