Health Impact of Demographic Changes in the Gulf States

  • Asharaf Abdul SalamEmail author
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history


The Arabian Gulf consist of six states in the Middle East Asia with public health statistics and facilities that are somewhat comparable to those in developed nations. However, family-level indicators, traditional values and customs, religiosity, and religious practices are valued as societal strongholds. Thus, there is a tension between modern and traditional lifestyles, so complicating the theoretical explanations and models of transitions in health, epidemiology, and demography. This chapter reviews (i) population trends – size, distribution, growth, and structure – and (ii) transition in public health statistics, fertility and mortality, using the US Census International Database accessed in 2012 and 2015.

The rapidly falling fertility has reached replacement levels, with low overall mortality levels as well as age-specific mortality rates. Efforts to achieve such a demographic and public health scenario have led to transformations in socioeconomic and infrastructural resources, such as improved living conditions, which in turn hastened the transition of demographics, with respect to the size, structure, and distribution of the population. Both these processes – public health transition and demographic changes – are complementary with each other. Nevertheless, these changes need to be assessed with caution, by policy makers and program planners, in impacting national scenarios, and with impacts on the indigenous population.


Population structure Vital statistics Arabian Gulf Demographic transition Epidemiology 


  1. Asharaf A, Alshekteria AA (2008) Population and health in the eastern Mediterranean: a preliminary examination. Middle East J Age Ageing 5(1):26–39Google Scholar
  2. Canning D (2011) The causes and consequences of demographic transition. Popul Stud J Demogr 65(3):353–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Courbage Y (1995) Declining fertility in the Arab Peninsula. Population 50(2):415–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Courbage Y (1999) Economic and political issues of fertility transition in the Arab World – answers and open questions. Popul Environ AJIS 20(4):353–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ESCWA (2002) The Arab plan of action on ageing to the year 2012. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, BeirutGoogle Scholar
  6. ESCWA (2008) Demographic change in the Arab countries: prospects for the future. Summary of social policies No. 1. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, BeirutGoogle Scholar
  7. Jacobson J (1994) Family gender and population policy: views from the Middle East. The Population Council, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Khraif RM (2001) Fertility in Saudi Arabia: levels and determinants. Paper presented at the XXIV general population conference at Salvador – Brazil. 18–24 AugustGoogle Scholar
  9. Khraif RM (2009a) Demographic imbalance in GCC: solutions and confrontations. Center for Population Studies RiyadhGoogle Scholar
  10. Khraif RM (2009b) Fertility behaviors of grazing groups in Suman and Northern Parts of Saudi Arabia. Paper presented at the XXVI IUSSP International Population conference, Marrakesh; 27 Sep–2 OctGoogle Scholar
  11. Khraif RM, Salam AA, Elsegaey I, Al-Mutairi A (2014) Changing age structures and ageing scenario of the Arab World. Soc Indic Res 121(3):763–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Khraif RM, Salam AA, Elsegaey I, Al-Dosari A, Al-Mutairi A (2016) Demographic challenges of the rapidly growing societies of the Arab World. In: Tiliouine H, Estes RJ (eds) The state of social progress of Islamic societies 2016: social, economic political, and ideological challenges (International handbooks of quality of change). Springer, Cham, pp 379–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mathew E, Shaikh RB, Al-Sharbatti S, Sreedharan J (2011) Introducing geriatric health in medical training in Ajman, United Arab Emirates: a co-curricular approach. Australas Med J 4(6):346–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pew Research Center (2009) Mapping the global Muslim population. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  15. Rashad H (2000) Demographic transition in Arab countries: a new perspective. J Popul Res 17(1):83–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Roudi-Fahimi FR, Kent MM (2007) Challenges and opportunities – the population of the Middle East and North Africa. Popul Bull 62(2):24–32Google Scholar
  17. Salam AA, Mouselhy M (2013) Ageing in Saudi Arabia: impact of demographic transition. Bold 24(1):33–46Google Scholar
  18. Salam AA, Elsegaey I, Khraif RM, Al-Mutairi A (2014) Population distribution and household conditions in Saudi Arabia: reflections from the 2010 Census. SpringerPlus 3(1):530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Salam AA, Elsegaey I, Khraif RM, AlMutairi A, Aldosari A (2015) Components and public health impact of population growth in the Arab World. PLoS One 10(5):e0124944CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Saxena PC (2008) Ageing and age structural transition in the Arab countries: regional variations, socioeconomic consequences and social security. Genus 64(1/2):37–74Google Scholar
  21. Shawky S (2001) Infant mortality in Arab countries: sociodemographic, perinatal and economic factors. East Mediterr Health J 7(6):956–965PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Tabutin D, Schoumaker B (2005) The demography of the Arab World and the Middle East from the 1950s to the 2000s. Population 60(5–6):505–616Google Scholar
  23. U.S. Department of Commerce (2003) The Arab population: 2000. US Census Bureau, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  24. U.S. Department of Commerce. United States Census Bureau International Programs International Data Base. Accessed during June-Aug, 2012 and Dec 2015
  25. United Nations (2008) Demographic change in the Arab countries: prospects for the future, summary of social policies No. 1. ESCWA, BeirutGoogle Scholar
  26. United Nations (2013a) The Arab Millennium Development Goals report: facing challenges and looking beyond 2015. UNDP, League of Arab Nations and ESCWA, BeirutGoogle Scholar
  27. United Nations (2013b) The Millennium Development Goals report 2013. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. WHO (2010) Accelerating progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  29. Yount KM, Sibai AM (2009) Demography of aging in Arab countries. In: Uhlenberg P (ed) International handbook of population aging. Springer Science + Business Media, New York, pp 277–314. (This reference has been checked and found correct)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Population StudiesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Irene Anne Jillson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations