Demographics of Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest state in the Arab world, with a reported population of 33,413,660 as of 2018. A significant percentage of the nation's inhabitants are immigrants seeking economic opportunity, making up 37% of the total Saudi population. Saudi Arabia has experienced a population explosion in the last 40 years, and continues to grow at a rate of 1.63% per year.
This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (January 2017)
Until the 1960s, most of the population was nomadic or seminomadic; due to rapid economic and urban growth, more than 95% of the population is now settled. 80% of Saudis live in ten major urban centers—Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Hofuf, Ta'if, Buraydah, Khobar, Yanbu, Dhahran, Dammam. Some cities and oases have densities of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer (2,600/mile²). Saudi Arabia's population is characterized by rapid growth, far more men than women, and a large cohort of youths.
Saudi Arabia hosts one of the pillars of Islam, which obliges all Muslims to make the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once during their lifetime if they are able to do so. The cultural environment in Saudi Arabia is highly conservative; the country adheres to the interpretation of Islamic religious law (Sharia). Cultural presentations must conform to narrowly defined standards of ethics.
Most Saudis are ethnically Arabs, the majority of whom are tribal. According to a random survey, most would-be Saudis come from the Subcontinent and Arab countries. Many Arabs from nearby countries are employed in the kingdom, particularly Egypt, as the Egyptian community developed from the 1950s onwards. There also are significant numbers of Asian expatriates, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, and recently refugees from Syria and Yemen. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was also a significant community of South Korean migrant labourers, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, but due rapid economic growth and development, most have since returned home; the South Korean government's statistics showed only 1,200 of their nationals living in the kingdom (most of them being professionals and business personnels) as of 2005[update]. There are more than 100,000 Westerners in Saudi Arabia, most of whom live in private compounds in the major cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah, Yanbu and Dhahran. The government prohibits non-Muslims from entering the cities of Mecca and Medinah.