Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

Statistical Snapshot


Saudi Arabia’s population is estimated at 34.2 million[1], with 83.8 percent of the total living in urban areas.[2] According to the latest data published by the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat), people below 30 years old account for 48.6 percent of the total population, and nationals make up around 62.7 percent of the population. The total fertility rate is 1.9 children per woman, in comparison to a fertility rate of 2.3 children per women for Saudi females.[1] Life expectancy is around 74.8 years, and levels of maternal mortality and infant mortality are around 12 per 100,000, and 4.82 per 1,000 respectively.[3]

The 2018 Human Development Index (HDI) for Saudi Arabia is 0.857, positioning it at 36th out of 189 countries and territories.  The country’s value is below the average of 0.892 for countries in the very high human development group and the second in the Arab region, which averages 0.703.[4]


The Saudi Vision 2030 plan, adopted in 2016,  has promoted substantial structural reforms to improve the business environment, placing among the ten most improved economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 out of 190 economies, with a total of eight reforms. Saudi’s efforts focused on strengthening access to credit, protecting minority investors, enhancing electronic trade single window and adopting measures to facilitate resolving insolvency.[5]


Saudi Arabia holds around 22.4 percent of the world's proven petroleum reserves, the second largest worldwide, and ranked as the largest exporter of petroleum in 2018.[6] Following the steep drop of oil prices in 2014, Saudi Arabia has declared its commitment to reduce oil dependence and to diversify its economy, as laid out in Vision 2030.[7] Despite progress expanding investment into manufacturing, tourism, technology and mining, the economy grew at a sluggish 0.3 percent in 2019, largely due to oil prices. Comparatively strong performance of non-oil sectors, growing at 3.3 percent, resulted in a positive inflation at 0.2 percent in December 2019, for the first time in a year.[8] 


The fluctuation in oil prices continue to strongly affect public finances, making fiscal balances very volatile, and increasing pressure to accelerate fiscal reforms. At the beginning of 2018, the authorities introduced a 5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) and imposed excise duties on some products and tariffs on foreign workers. Due to an increase in total oil revenues by 23.5 percent driven by higher energy prices in 2018, in addition to an increase in non-oil revenues by 1.4 percent, the fiscal deficit contracted from 9.2 percent of GDP in 2017 to 5.9 percent of GDP in 2018.[9] The fiscal deficit further narrowed in 2019, amounting to 4.5 percent of GDP, as total spending decreased and the decline in oil revenues was offset by an increase in non-oil revenues.[10]


The strict measures adopted by governments around the world to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, including travel restrictions, have reduced demand for oil.  This fall in demand resulted in a collapse in oil prices by 50 percent.[11] Saudi Arabia, as result, is facing a dual shock, putting pressure on the economy. According to the IMF, growth is expected to drop to -2.3 percent, and the fiscal deficit is expected to widen in 2020, at around 12.6 percent of GDP.[10] Decreased tourism receipts and the suspension of pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, which receives around 7.5 million pilgrims per year and generate $12 billion in revenue, equivalent to 20 percent of the country’s non-oil GDP and seven percent of total GDP[11], are expected to bring current account deficit of -3.1 percent in 2020.[10]


The Kingdom is increasingly trying to direct nationals into the private sector.  In the fourth quarter of 2019, the total unemployment rate was 6 percent, while that of Saudis was 12 percent. However, Saudi labor force participation rate remains relatively low, at 46.7 percent, driven by the low participation of women, whose unemployment reached 30.8 percent in Q4 2019 compared to only 4.9 percent for men.[1] On 3 April 2020, the government authorized the use of the unemployment insurance (SANED) to cover for 60 percent of Saudi labor's salaries for a period of three months. The aid is expected to support 1.2 million of those working in coronavirus affected companies.[12]


Under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia launched the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) which aims to maximize the potential of renewable energy in the Kingdom. Most recently, the country launched round three of its NREP which is comprised of four Solar PV projects with a combined generation capacity of 1,200 MW.[13]

This overview was last updated in April 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.

[1] General Authority for Statistics. 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020]. 
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.2018. World Urbanization Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[3] Ministry of health. 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[4] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2019. Human Development Report 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[5] The World Bank. 2019. Doing Business 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2020].
[6] Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). 2019. Annual statistical Bulletin. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020]. 
[7] Vision 2030 (KSA). 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[8] Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). 2020. Economic Indices. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[9] Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). 2019. Fifty fifth Annual Report. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2020].
[10] International Monetary Fund. April 2020.World Economic Outlook Database [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[11] Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. 2019. Open Data Platform. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[12] Ministry of Finance. 3 April 2020. By order of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques: The Government, through Unemployment Insurance (SANED), Bears 60% of The Salaries of Saudi Private Sector labors. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020]
[13] Ministry of Energy, Saudi Arabia. January 2019. Saudi Arabia Launches Round Three of National Renewable Energy Program. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2020].

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Data Highlights

  • The country is the largest exporter of total petroleum liquids in the world and one of the World’s largest producers of crude oil, producing 3.6 billion barrels in (2017).

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