Saudi Arabia Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Saudi Arabia Country Overview

Where is Saudi Arabia located? Saudi Arabia is a kingdom located in the Middle East. It is a form of government of the absolutist monarchy. The time zone map assigns Saudi Arabia to “Arabia Standard Time”, a world time zone in which there is a time difference of +3 hours to the coordinated world time. Accordingly, it is 3 hours later on clocks there than on the world clock. This difference remains the same throughout the year.

Saudi Arabia National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Saudi Arabia is 34,173,498, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 34,173,498
Population growth rate 1.60%
Birth rate 18.30 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 74.58 years
Men life expectancy 72.58 years
Women life expectancy 76.68 years
Age structure
0-14 years 25.74%
15-64 years 70.94%
65 years and above 3.32%
Median age 26.80 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 1.21
Population density 15.90 residents per kmĀ²
Urbanization 87.70%
75% Saudi Arabians (over 30% nomads and semi-nomads); 25% foreigners mainly from Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Indonesia
Muslim 100%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.857
HDI ranking 36th out of 194

People in Saudi Arabia

More than 34 million people live in Saudi Arabia. The proportion of those not born in Saudi Arabia is very high. More than ten million people are not originally from the country.

The locals are mostly Arabs. The foreign residents are Indians, Egyptians and Pakistanis. In addition, there is a not inconsiderable number of unregistered immigrants, which is estimated at one to two million people.

70 out of 100 people in Saudi Arabia are under 30 years old. 83 out of 100 people live in a city.

Many people work for the state

Many locals work in administration, that is, for the state. Many also work in the education sector, i.e. as teachers or at universities. Only a small part is employed in private companies. The Saudi state is the people’s greatest employer. As long as the state is doing well, (most) people are also doing well and vice versa.

Low salary jobs for foreign workers

The foreign workers mostly do jobs that the locals do not want to do themselves. They work as salespeople, cleaning women, maids, chauffeurs, construction workers, waitresses and in industry.

Languages in Saudi Arabia

Arabic is the official language in the country. English is used as the commercial language and is also taught in schools. Many people in Saudi Arabia speak English.

Religions in Saudi Arabia

The state religion in Saudi Arabia is Wahhabism, a very strict interpretation of Sunni Islam. So most people are also Sunnis.

However, around one million residents are Shiites. These live mainly in the east of the country or on the border with neighboring Yemen. However, they are not allowed to show their Shiite beliefs in public. Other faiths – such as Christianity or Judaism – are also not officially allowed.

So that everyone follows the strictly conservative ideas, a so-called “religious police” monitors the people. Above all, the observance of prayer times, the ban on alcohol, women’s clothing and the behavior of men and women are checked. Anyone who does not obey the rules can easily be arrested.


The strictest and most intolerant orientation in Islam is Wahhabism. The teachings are based on a man named Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. His followers see themselves as the only representatives of true Islam. Everything that does not conform to the teachings of Wahhabism is rejected, but above all Shiite Islam. Most Wahhabis can be found in Saudi Arabia, but also in Qatar and some in India, Pakistan and West Africa. They do not call themselves Wahhabis, but Salafists or simply Sunnis. It is characteristic of Wahhabism that all new adjustments to Islam are rejected. The Islamic sources are implemented verbatim. Whoever thinks differently is not a Muslim for them.