By Elizabeth Broomhall
Figures will rise due to an inflow of expatriates and a growth in GCC nationals
The GCC population will near 50m by 2013, boosted by a steady inflow of expatriates and a growth in the number of Gulf nationals, a new report has said.
The number of people living in the region reached an estimated 46.8m in 2011 up from 33.2m in 2004, and is forecast to hit 49.8m in 2013, QNB Capital has said.
The population’s compounded average growth rate (CAGR) is expected to fall to 3.2 percent for the 2009-2013 period down from 5.9 percent between 2004 and 2008, but will remain ahead of the global population, which is growing at a rate of 1.2 percent per year.
QNB analysts say growth will be driven by an increase in the birth rates and life expectancies of GCC nationals, and a steady surge of foreign nationals attracted by stable economies.
“The population boom that the GCC experienced during the 2000s was remarkable by global and historical standards,” the report said.
“The more moderate growth rates that have been observed in recent years, and which QNB Capital expects to continue, should enable the region to consolidate and catch up with the higher population levels.”
Gulf countries have seen a significant rise in their populations over the last decade, largely due to a boom in oil prices and the growth of non-oil sectors, which led to an influx of expatriate residents.
Between 2004 and 2008, the number of foreign nationals grew at a rate of 10.8 percent according to QNB, boosted by the rapid development of real estate projects requiring large numbers of construction workers.
Though the rates slowed in the wake of the global financial crisis, most GCC economies remained buoyant and continued to attract foreign residents, QNB said.
For the period 2009-2013, QNB forecasts that the expatriate population will continue to grow, but at a steadier rate of 4.0 percent.
The rise of GCC nationals is forecast at 2.4 percent, down only slightly from 2.5 percent in the previous five years and double the global average.
QNB says the increase can be attributed to a youthful population, high birth rates and improving life spans due to investment in healthcare.
Interesting numbers, they seem to totally ignore the loud calls to localize the workforce.