UAE: Share of Urban Population, by year
YearShare of urban population,
in %
  • Region: United Arab Emirates
  • Time period: 2012 to 2022
  • Published: Mar 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 15, 2024 | Published by: Statistico | About Us / Data / Analysis

Continuous Urbanization Trend in the UAE

Urbanization in the United Arab Emirates has been on a steady rise from 84.75% in 2012 to 87.54% in 2022, marking a consistent increase in the share of urban population over the decade.

Accelerating Pace of Urban Population Growth

The growth rate of urban population share increased slightly faster in the most recent years, from an increment of 0.20% between 2015 and 2016 to 0.24% between 2021 and 2022, indicating an accelerating urbanization pace.

Stable Increase in Urbanization Each Year

Every year from 2012 to 2022, the urban population share saw an increase, with the smallest yearly growth being 0.20% and the largest being 0.29%, showcasing the stability of urban growth trends in the UAE.

The Least and Most Urbanized Years

The year 2012 was the least urbanized with a population share of 84.75%, while 2022 emerged as the most urbanized year, achieving a share of 87.54% in the urban population.

Consistent Urban Growth Across a Decade

Over the last decade, the urban population share has experienced a cumulative growth of approximately 2.79%, reflecting a moderate but consistent urban expansion within the country.

Higher Urbanization Rates in Recent Years

Recent years have witnessed marginally higher rates of urbanization, with a 0.24% increase from 2021 to 2022 compared to a 0.20% increase from 2015 to 2016, suggesting an increasing trend in urbanization efforts.

Urban Population Share Nearing 90%

As of 2022, the share of the urban population in the UAE is approaching 90%, with a recorded rate of 87.54%, highlighting the country's significant urban development and lifestyle transformation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What has been the trend in urbanization in the United Arab Emirates over the past decade?

Urbanization in the United Arab Emirates has consistently risen from 84.75% in 2012 to 87.54% in 2022.

How has the growth rate of the urban population changed in recent years?

The growth rate of the urban population has slightly accelerated, moving from 0.20% between 2015 and 2016 to 0.24% between 2021 and 2022.

What were the least and most urbanized years in the United Arab Emirates?

The year 2012 was the least urbanized year with a population share of 84.75%, while 2022 was the most urbanized year with a share of 87.54%.

Terms and Definitions

Urban population refers to the segment of the total population that resides within cities or urban centers. Urban locations are typically defined by higher population density and vast human features in contrast to places deemed rural or semi-urban.

Urbanization is the process by which towns and cities are formed and grow to become larger as more people begin living and working in central areas. This is usually due to the movement of population from rural areas to cities, often in search of better livelihood opportunities.

Population density represents the number of people living per unit of an area (usually per square kilometer or mile). It commonly measures the concentration of population within a specific geographic area.

Rural population refers to people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the difference between the total population and the urban population, as defined by country-specific definitions.

Urban sprawl refers to the expansion of a city or metropolitan area, i.e., the proportion of total population or area in urban localities, or the increase in this proportion over time.

Urban planning is the process of designing and regulating the arrangement, appearance, and functionality of a city or town. It involves the strategic management of the infrastructure, land-use, environment and transportation elements that make up an urban area.

Urban growth rate is the rate at which the population of an urban area increases from year to year. This could be as a result of internal population growth, migration into the urban area, and reclassification of peripheral locales.
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