One of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and categorized as a high-income economy, Oman has an estimated population of 4.6 million, growing at a rate of 3.3 percent. The population under the age of 30 made up around 52 percent of the Omani population in 2017, the highest among the GCC countries. Remarkably, migrant workers make up 43.7 percent of the total population, compared to 26 percent in 2000.[1] An average Omani born in 2017 is expected to live 77 years[1], while an average person in the Arab region is expected to live for 71.5 years.[2]

Similar to the other GCC countries, Oman has been facing increasing fiscal challenges due to lower oil prices starting mid-2014, yet the economic outlook has started to improve with progresses witnessed in 2018. As Oman complied with the OPEC agreement and cut down production in 2017, real GDP growth recorded a negative value at -0.9 percent, down from 4.7 percent in 2015, to gradually rise again to 1.9 percent in 2018.[3] Between 2015 and 2017, Oman recorded a double digit fiscal and current account deficit, which led to large increases in government debt reaching 48.7 percent of GDP in 2018.[4] With the recent recovery in oil prices as of 2017 and spending restraints, the fiscal deficit dropped to 2 percent of GDP in 2018, down from 21.2 percent in 2016.[3] At the same time, the current account deficit has improved to 3.3% of GDP in 2018, down from 18.7% in 2016.[3] In 2016, fuel exports dropped to 62.5 percent of merchandise exports, up from 83.5 percent in 2014, and increased again to 73.7 percent in 2017.[5]


Along these lines, the Omani government has planned to undertake fiscal reforms, including the gradual removing of the subsidy system, introducing value-added tax and diversifying its revenues away from hydrocarbons According to latest national data, the services sector contributed to around half of the country’s GDP in 2017, compared to 29 percent for the hydrocarbons sector, whose share of GDP was 53.2 percent in 2011.[1] Notably, tourism is considered the promising sector for diversification, accounting for 2.6 percent of GDP.[1] Oman’s GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) levelled at Int USD 175.9 billion in 2017, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (Purchasing Power Parity) at Int USD 40,240, surpassing the average GNI per capita in the Arab region of Int USD16,997.[5] 


An ongoing challenge for the Omani government, youth unemployment remained at 8.3 percent in 2018. Unemployment has been particularly affecting young women, with 26.8 percent unemployment rate.[6] In an effort to curb unemployment, the government has responded by encouraging the national labour force to join the private sector.[7] Still, Oman’s private sector remains highly reliant on non-nationals. Out of the 2 million private sector workers in 2017, non-national workers, with valid labour permits, accounted for 1.8 million.[1]


Education in Oman is offered for free for all Omani children enrolled at public schools and enrolment is obligatory for 10 years, i.e. until the child completes basic education.[8] In 2017, the government devoted around 10.5 percent of its expenditures for education. With the government’s investment in education, youth literacy has almost approached the 100 percent target.[1] According to latest available data, the primary and secondary gross enrolment ratios have exceeded 100 percent and the tertiary enrolment ratio reached 44.6 percent in 2016, up from 14.8 percent in 2003, with ratios exhibiting positive trends across all stages of education since 1990. Moreover, gender parity has been achieved at the primary and secondary levels, while more females are enrolled in tertiary education, with a Gender Parity Index of 1.82.[9] In regard to the health sector, Omanis can access primary health care and basic medication free of charge. Nearly 99 percent of the births were attended by skilled health personnel in 2017.[1]

This overview was last updated in February 2019. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), Oman. 2019. 2018 Statistical Yearbook. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 February 2019].
[2] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2018. Human Development Indices and Indicators: 2018 Statistical Update. Available at: [Accessed 12 February 2019].
[3] National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), Oman. 2019. Sustainable development objectives: quality education. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 February 2019].
[4] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2018. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 February 2019].
[5] International Monetary Fund (IMF). October 2018. World Economic Outlook Database. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2019].
[6]  International Monetary Fund (IMF). July 2018. IMF Executive Board Concludes 2018 Article IV Consultation with Oman. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2019].
[7] The World Bank. 2019. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2019].
[8] International Labour Organization (ILO). 2018. ILOSTAT. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2019].
[9] Al Shaibany, S. March 2018. Oman nationalisation drive threatens thousands of expats’ jobs. The National. Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2019].

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Data Highlights

  • The gross primary enrollment rate grew up to 110% in 2015, from 93.4% in 2000; at the primary level, the Gender Parity has been achieved.

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