The population of the GCC is expected to hit 50 million by 2013, although the population growth rate is slowing according to Qatar’s QNB Capital.

The bank estimates that the population in the region was 46.8 million at the end of 2011, up significantly from 33.2 million in 2004. The population growth rate is slowing though. Between 2004-08 the average growth rate was 5.9 per cent, but between 2009-13 it is expected to slow to an average of 3.2 per cent a year.

[Population] growth among GCC nationals is expected to fall to 2.4 per cent between 2009-13

The slowdown in population growth is mainly attributed to slowing growth in the numbers of expatriates moving to the six nation group. Growth among GCC nationals is expected to fall to 2.4 per cent between 2009-13, from 2.5 per cent in the previous five years. The region’s expatriate population during the economic boom years of 2004-08 was 10.8 per cent. This is expected to fall to 4 per cent between 2009-13.

The overall continued rise in the number of expatriates in the region means that the GCC population will be 48.4 per cent of the total by 2013, up from 47.8 per cent in 2011, and 37.8 per cent in 2004.

QNB Capital said in a report on population trends, “Following the brief crash in oil prices in 2009 and weaknesses in the real estate sector in places, some analysts expected trends to reverse and expatriate numbers to fall.” The report added that this has not yet happened, although “population growth did slow sharply in some places.”