Monday, April 20, 2015

A very curious cheeseburger indeed

Whenever I talk to people back home about the UAE, one factoid that almost unfailingly gets a look of surprise is that foreigners vastly outnumber the locals there. It's true -- Emiratis only make up a little more than 10 percent of the population of their own country. Maybe it's the thought of being a minority in your home country that raises people's eyebrows more than anything about the UAE, but I could be wrong.

So who makes up the other 90 percent? It's not easy to say as the UAE doesn't publish that data, but the folks over at bqdoha have taken a pretty good stab at it.

The top five is not at all surprising to anyone who lives in the UAE.

1. India -- 2.6 million (27.15 percent)
2. Pakistan -- 1.2 million (12.53 percent)
3. UAE -- 1.08 million (11.32 percent)
4. Bangladesh -- 700,000 (7.31 percent)
5. Philippines -- 525,000 (5.49 percent)

Americans? Pah. There's only about 50,000 of us. Even if you added Americans and Canadians (40,000) together, we'd still be outnumbered by 16 other nationalities. The British are, unsurprisingly, the biggest group of Westerners with 120,000. That's not unexpected given that the UAE is a former British colony.

I have to wonder, then. If the US is a melting pot and Canada a mosaic, what does this demographic breakdown make the UAE? A cheeseburger that's all toppings and very little burger? If you have a better analogy -- and let's be honest, it would be hard not to -- let me know in the comments.

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