4,5 million inhabitants (2009) Density: 55 inhabitants per sq. km United Arab Emirates has near 10 urban areas with over 100,000 inhabitants.
The five largest are:
- Dubai 1,770,533
- Abu Dhabi 896,751
- Sharjah 845,617
- Al Ain 651,904
- Ajman 372,923
The UAE has created an extensive social welfare network that includes family care centers aimed at solving domestic problems and training women in domestic skills and handicrafts. Psychological care is available for troubled youths. The National Assistance Law provides benefits to victims of catastrophic illnesses and disasters. Widows, orphans, the elderly, the disabled, and others unable to support themselves receive social security payments. In 1975 nearly 24,000 citizens benefited from Dh87.7 million in such social aid; in 1982 approximately 121,000 persons received a total of Dh275 million.
Other benefits given UAE citizens are free housing and subsidized furnishings. However, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing reported in 1992 that 70 percent of 15,000 governmentbuilt low-income houses had deteriorated to the point of being uninhabitable. Among the causes were damage from groundwater salinity, failure to grant proprietary rights, and withdrawal of a Dh10,000 per house maintenance grant.
The education system through secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education. It consists of primary schools, middle schools and high schools. The public schools are government-funded and the curriculum is created to match the United Arab Emirates development's goals and values. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language. There are also many private schools which are internationally accredited. Public schools in the country are free for citizens of the UAE, while the fees for private schools vary.
The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education. The ministry also is responsible for admitting students to its undergraduate institutions.
A recent survey showed that the illiteracy rate is on the decline in the UAE, and is now in the region of 7 per cent. This is mainly due to programmes that combat illiteracy amongst the adult population. Currently there are thousands of nationals pursuing formal learning at 86 adult education centres spread across the country.
The Government has launched many programs and initiatives to improve the quality of education at schools across the country. The UAE has shown a strong interest in improving education and research. Enterprises include the establishment of the CERT Research Centers and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and institute for enterprise development.
Islam is by far the largest religion in the United Arab Emirates and is practiced by approximately 96% of the country's populace. Of these, 80% practice Sunni Islam, while 16% practice Shia Islam.
The rest of the population primarily practices Christianity and Hinduism. Most of the Christians in the country are from Philippines, Lebanon and India while almost all Hindus in the country are of Indian origin.
Though Islam is the UAE's state religion, the government follows a policy of tolerance towards other religions and rarely interferes in the activities of non-Muslims. However, it is illegal in the UAE to spread the ideas of any religion apart from Islam through any form of media as it is a form of proselytizing. There are approximately 31 churches throughout the country and one Hindu temple in the region of Bur Dubai.