Gulf states to conduct census in 2010

Shoppers in retail mall in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates is to conduct a general census in 2010. (Reuters)

Shoppers in retail mall in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates is to conduct a general census in 2010. (Reuters)

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ABU DHABI — In an unprecedented step, each of the six member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council will conduct its own census in 2010 using a common data form. This resolution was reached by GCC leaders at the 22nd GCC Summit in Muscat, Oman in 2001. Each GCC state is to conduct its own census.

UAE officials note that carrying out the census is in itself a remarkable step, but ensuring that the results are accurate will be a huge undertaking. In the UAE alone, more than 10,000 people will be deployed across the country to count and collect information on residents.

The first census in the UAE was conducted in 1975, just four years after the country was founded. At that time, the population was 557,887, of which only 170,156 or just 30.5 percent were UAE nationals. Thirty-five years later, UAE’s population is expected to surpass five million.

Among the 10,000 being trained to conduct the UAE’s sixth census will be a team of 100 leaders responsible for coordinating the effort, who are already in training at the University of Sharjah and the Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre.

The UAE census is chaired by Minister of the Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, and will give officials a clear indication of the demographics of each emirate.

Experts anticipate that the census of each emirate will indicate an increase in population since the last census, but the relative size and population density of each emirate will probably remain the same. At the end of 2008, Dubai was the most densely populated emirate, with a population of 1.6 million residents. This total is expected to increase by eight percent to 1.7 million residents by the end of this year.