Firstly, Islam is the most prominent religion in this region. Though the Middle East was the birthplace for all Abrahamic religions, today the majority of its population consider themselves to be Muslims and Sunni-Islam is the denomination of the majority amongst them.
Secondly, the Middle East and North Africa has one of the youngest population in global comparison accompanied with one of the highest rate youth unemployment worldwide.
Thirdly, the Middle East and North Africa has very a fast growing population. Currently the total population for the region is estimated to be almost 600 million, with the projection that the population size will surpass China by the end of the century and reach above a billion inhabitants in 2100.
However, in this dossier the focus lies in the core economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council subregion. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait have the highest human development index scores amongst all Arab countries in the wider region.
The economic and human development achievements of the population in the Gulf Cooperation Council is mainly granted through the prosperity gained from their mineral resources.
Though on paper the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries are well to do, there are major issues which their population is currently facing.
The population is skewed at three different points:
Nationals in Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are in the minority compared to migrants and expatriates in their total population. Majority of migrants settling in the Gulf Cooperation Council region are from Asia, descending mainly from the South Asian sub-continent.
Another population challenge arises from the fact that men significantly outnumber women in the total population of the Gulf Cooperation Council region. Moreover, the female workforce participation rate for local women is very low.
The high unemployment rate amongst the local population of the Gulf Cooperation Council will become the main economic challenge in the near future, once the revenue from the oil and gas resources fades.