The number of expats in the Saudi Arabian cities of Jeddah and Jubail is reportedly higher than that of Saudi nationals, according to reports from the kingdom.
The revelation prompted calls for the Vision 2030 to include plans to curb the number of expats in some cities, with one researcher claiming cultural identities and traditions were under threat.
2015 population estimates show that in Jubail, in the Eastern Province, there are 243,000 expats compared to 205,000 nationals, Saudi Gazette reported citing Arabic daily Al Watan.
In Jeddah, the newspaper said, there are 2.13 million expats in Jeddah and 1.9 million nationals. In Al Ghat, there are 8,800 Saudi nationals compared to 8,158 expatriates.
In total across the kingdom, 21.1 million of the 31.5 million population are Saudi nationals (67 percent) while 21.1 million (33 percent) are expats.
The figures reportedly came from a source at Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics.
The source’s comments prompted concern from some experts, Saudi Gazette reported. It quoted Mohammad Al Subaie, head of the Ethar Forum for Social Studies and Research, as saying: “To have more expatriates than nationals in a city will have many negative ramifications on the sociological, economic, demographic and cultural aspects.
“The culture of certain expatriate communities already dominates Jubail and is manifested through clothes and food.”
Al Subaie added: “The people of Jeddah also have the right to preserve their identity. If there was no control over foreign cultures, the identity of the people of the city will dissipate.”
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.