Image Credit: Gulf News

The vast majority of UAE residents will continue to live in the cities, but the rural population is set to remain surprisingly steady at just under 20 per cent of the total. The expatriate proportion looks likely to remain around 80 per cent, which in the remote future of 40 years and beyond will give comfort to the growing Emirati population because they will be able to seek employment in their home country through natural replacement.

As expatriates settle in the country for longer, they will have to get much better at speaking Arabic than the current incumbents who largely fail that test. The combined conurbation of Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman will be the country’s largest population centre, with Abu Dhabi being large enough to form a natural nexus of its own.