SAUDI ARABIA CITIES POPULATION
According to the 1992 census, the population of Saudi Arabia is
12,304,000. Additionally, there are 4,625,000 expatriates living in the Kingdom. It is a
traditional society that combines the virtues of Bedouin life with a talent for commerce
and an underlying devotion to the principles of Islam. Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom,
is the largest city with a population of more than two million. Jeddah, the mainland, air
and sea gateway on the Red Sea coast, has a population of about two million. Other main
cities including Makkah, Madinah, Dammam, Jubail, Yanbu, Al-Ahsa, Buraidah, Unaiza,
Tabouk, Al-Taif, Hail, Abha, etc., have populations of about 500,000 to one million
The population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is divided into three main categories,
reflecting various ways of life:
This group constituted the majority of the population during the first half of the 20th
century. However, this way of life gradually altered under the pressure of rapid social
and economic development. The number of Bedouins dwindled through state resettlement
projects, involving the reclamation of agricultural lands, the setting up of hamlets and
relocation of several tribes. The 1974 general population census showed that Bedouins
constituted only 27% of the population; this dropped to less than 10% in the 1991(1411 H)
census. Even this remaining population cannot be strictly categorized as Bedouins.
Although they continue to shift from one place to another, they use modern means to do so,
such as trucks to transport their animals and luggage. They also make use of water tanks,
radio and TV. Although the externals of their lives have changed, the Bedouin sense of
spirit and independence remains intact in the culture at large.
Villagers and oases dwellers used to constitute the second largest category of the
population, but their numbers have also decreased because of migration to urban areas. The
conspicuous change which Saudi village life has undergone is manifest in the construction
of concrete buildings, the abundance of public utilities and services and modern
communication facilities. Villages constituted 15% of the population in 1991(1411H).
The number of city dwellers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has dramatically increased, in
tandem with the sharp drop in the number of Bedouins and rural dwellers. Seventy-five
percent of the population is concentrated in the cities, which have attracted
national inhabitants, as well as people from abroad. Having developed with breathtaking
speed, Saudi cities now contain networks of roads, gardens, spacious houses and trade
centers. Stores are flooded with goods from all over the world.